Preston 'chatterbox' completes sponsored silence for India Covid appeal

A Preston school girl decided to raise money for the Indian Covid-19 appeal by staying shtum for a whole 24 hours.

By Jessica Hubbard
Monday, 7th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 1:36 pm

Anya Patel, 7, from Woodplumpton, decided to take on a challenge to help those living through India's Covid-19 crisis.

Mother Archana and Grandfather 'Vas' were explaining the situation in the country to Anya when she decided she wanted to help.

“I thought of doing either a 24-hour silence or running a mile every day for two weeks and my mum said I should do the silence," Anya said.

Milun supported sister Anya with the challenge by leaving her alone for the day. Photo: Neil Cross.

Anya's grandparents moved to the UK from Bangalore and Anya has travelled to the country before.

Her great, great grandmother was a victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years ago.

Normally talkative Anya found it hard to keep quiet for a whole day but managed to communicate with her parents through messages written on pieces of paper.

Anya's little brother Milun also helped by agreeing to not bother her for the day.

Anya Patel, 7, has raised nearly £2,000 for the Indian Covid appeal after a sponsored silence. Photo: Neil Cross.

The thoughtful seven-year-old only set out to raise £100 but her fundraising total soon surpassed this goal.

“I recorded a little message explaining what I was going to do and asking people if they would sponsor me and my parents sent it out to friends and family,” said Anya, “Within a few hours I had raised quite a lot of money which is amazing!”

Now Anya has raised just shy of £2,000 via her JustGiving page.

“I did find it very difficult because I had never done a silence before, but I still didn’t talk," Anya said.

“I think my mum and dad were happy to get some peace and quiet for a day.”

The funds will be split equally between the Yorkshire Indian Society Emergency India Covid Relief Fund and the Kannada Balaga UK emergency appeal.

Anya's mum, Archana, said the seven-year-old jumped at the chance to help the country's Covid appeal.

“We were having a chat about what’s going on in India and she said ‘I want to do something to help’,” said Archana.

“She wanted to either run a mile every day for two weeks or do a 24 hour silence - obviously we encouraged the silence.

“When she was doing the silence I read her all the messages on the fundraising page and this spurred her on.

“We were not expecting the fundraising to take off like it did so it’s amazing."

The Kannada Balaga charity is currently raising funds to send oxygen concentrator machines to Bangalore and the Yorkshire Indian Society has raised more than £20,000 for medical equipment.

Karnataka, the South Indian state where Bangalore is located, has the second highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country at 31,000.

In recent months India's morgues, crematoriums and oxygen supplies have become overwhelmed by demand due to the virus.

More information about the Kannada Balaga Covid appeal can be found here or to find out more about the Yorkshire Indian Society appeal you can visit this web page.

Anya's fundraising page can be found via this link.

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