Girl, 7, raises £3,000 for charity with gift cards

A girl has raised £3,000 for two charities caring for her brother by selling gift cards featuring his paintings.

Amelie Turnbull, seven, from Caversham Heights, has been selling the cards in stores in Caversham and Henley since October.

She has won £6,000 so far and has chosen to donate half of her profits to charities which help her brother George, 14, who has lobar holoprosencephaly, a rare birth brain defect.

Amelie donated £1,500 each to Camp Mohawk in Wargrave, a multi-purpose day center for children with special needs, and the Music Club, which also supports disabled youngsters and meets at Woodcote Village Hall.

Amelie, a pupil at Heights Primary School in Caversham Heights, said: “I thought I would only raise around £100 at first and some of my friends don’t believe I raised £6,000.

“I’m going to bring one of my cards to show and tell.

“I draw things I like like dogs and cats. I’m drawing a giraffe right now. My favorite animal is a guinea pig but I haven’t had a chance to draw one yet So many people have bought the cards and it hasn’t even been a year.

Amelie’s cards, which are printed on recycled paper, feature designs of peacocks, flamingos, dragonflies and hedgehogs as well as various flowers and plants, including watermelons.

She started painting watercolors at her kitchen table during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

Her mother Davina said Amélie had always been creative, but she was surprised when her daughter showed her the photos she had taken.

Ms Turnbull, 41, who works for the NHS, said: ‘In the summer when schools are closed we cannot go to parks or shops as George’s behavior can be quite tricky.

“It means that our other children have become good at having fun. Amélie has always been creative, making homemade slime and stuff. We first realized she had a talent for art when she was doing these amazing watercolors. She had never had a class but took incredible pictures of animals and nature.

When friends and family asked if they could buy the paintings, Amélie and her mother decided to sell them more widely.

Ms Turnbull, who lives with her partner Chris and her other son Harry, 10, said: ‘I was showing some of the pictures of Amelie to the lady who runs Nood Stores in Church Street, Caversham.

“I only showed it to her on a whim because she didn’t have any cards in her store.

“She was really interested, so I took Amélie to see her the next day. She ended up asking if we could make 150 of the cards.

Ms Turnbull asked the Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standardto scan the drawings and print the maps.

These are now being sold by Nood Stores and FourState in Duke Street, Henley, for £3 each or £10 for four.

Amélie even started accepting commissions after a woman asked her to draw her recently deceased cat. Ms Turnbull said: “It makes me so proud to see Amélie being able to give something back to the people who have given us so much.

“She’s not very confident – it’s a quiet little thing. I just hope it boosts her self-esteem a bit.

“I don’t think she understands how special it is. It all went a bit over his head. Hopefully, when she’s older, she’ll appreciate what an amazing thing it was to do.

Kate Wood, Project Manager at Camp Mohawk, said, “The work Amélie has done and the money she has raised is nothing short of phenomenal.

“We are incredibly grateful and very humbled. It’s always amazing when a family who uses our services gives something back.

“We haven’t decided what the money will be used for yet, but we have discussed the options with the family.”

Julie Hinton, general organizer of the Music Club, said: “The money will help us to continue to organize our sessions. Things are getting tough with covid and the cost of living crisis, so Amélie’s donation goes a long way.

Michael N. Clark