Conscientious, kind and caring – this week’s youthful Local Hero winner has it all.
Levi Lenny Spong, 10, from South Chailey, near Lewes, is an inspiring schoolboy with more on his mind than just video games and playing with friends.
For years he has been working hard to raise cash for abandoned, orphaned and underprivileged children more than 6,000 miles away in Africa.
From long-distance swims to preparing for a triathlon, Levi’s generous and mindful nature has seen him raise more than £1,600 to help children his age living in some of the poorest parts of the world.
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His incredible fundraising efforts started in 2010 after watching a TV documentary about African children who work in technology dumps.
Witnessing how kids his age were having to burn computer component boards in dangerous environments in order to survive, he set about trying to make a difference.
Jon, Levi’s father, said: “He was genuinely distraught when he saw what other kids had to go through.
“The children working in the technology dumps are risking their health and lives by trying to find reuseable parts and Levi was shocked. It all started from there.”
Levi, a pupil at Newlands School, began by sponsoring a child called Jacob in Mombassa, Kenya.
Jacob, 9, lives in a home provided by the SOS Children’s Villages charity – a global organisation that saves abandoned children by providing long-term care and support.
Soon after sponsoring his African counterpart, Levi started raising cash through sponsored swims, recently totting up an impressive 66 lengths of Wave Leisure Centre’s 25m pool in Lewes.
On February 15 he will tackle his biggest challenge yet – a gruelling triathlon that includes a 1k swim, a 2k run and a 5k bike ride.
Levi said: “When I saw the programme about children having to work in the rubbish dumps it made me feel really sad. I knew I wanted to try to help so that’s when I started swimming to raise money and I sponsored Jacob as well.
“I am looking forward to the triathlon and hope I can raise even more money to help the children who need it in Africa.
“Wave Leisure have been letting me use the running track and pool so I would like to say thanks to them.
“And my school has been very supportive too, which is nice of them. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.”
To donate to Levi’s charity fund, visit justgiving.com/Levi-wants-to-help.