Diana Award for big-hearted Edinburgh youngster Cody McManus
A CAPITAL schoolboy has scooped a national award for his dedication to ensuring no child wakes up without presents on Christmas Day.
Big-hearted youngster Cody McManus was one of 18 young people from across Scotland and beyond to pick up a ‘Diana Award’ in a special ceremony honouring the humanitarian efforts and social actions of youngsters.
The nine-year-old started the Cody’s Christmas Toybox campaign to help less fortunate children during the holiday season.
The fundraising effort – which aimed to fill an entire boxing ring with toys to be donated – raised a staggering £12,000 worth of toys, benefitting over 500 children.
He went on to raise a further £10,000 to buy sixty-four bikes for children by cycling 58km from Edinburgh to the Falkirk Wheel.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
And Duddingston Primary School pupil Cody – who won in the Child of Achievement category at the 2017 Edinburgh Evening News Local Hero awards – said he was “delighted and honoured” to pick up the prize.
Cody said: “It was really amazing to be up there with everyone else who won an award, it was a great feeling to get it.”
“I’m just really pleased that everyone got behind the campaign last year and supported it, I want to keep it going as long as possible and help as many children as I can.”
The youngster revealed he is hoping to raise even more this year after launching his Christmas Challenge, which will see him tackle a five-kilometre “army assault course” at Winton Castle in Pencaitland on December 1.
Cody added: “I’ve done the boxing challenge and we did the cycle too, so this was just a step up, I’m hoping it will convince people to donate even more.”
“We are also asking for donations of toys, so hopefully we can keep getting those to come in and make this year even better.”
Mum Denise said she was “hugely proud” of Cody’s achievement, adding: “He doesn’t shy away from the publicity, but I don’t think he enjoys when it is all about him. For Cody, he just wants to help people, so awards like this I think recognise that he is doing a good job.”
“Of course we are all just hugely proud of him and the fact that he is doing it again this year and wants to make it even bigger, it is incredible.”
Denise continued: “I hope everyone can get behind the Christmas challenge this year.”
Capital teenager Joanna Lamb, 18, also received one of the awards for her work in raising money for a variety of causes while undergoing treatment for bone cancer. The Craigmount High School pupil donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, raising more than £16,000.
12-year-old Grace Warnock picked up an accolade for her work in raising awareness of Crohn’s disease in young people by creating a sign to highlight the disability. “Grace’s sign” has since reached international audiences and her cause has been endorsed in the Scottish Parliament.