TWO years ago, his dedication to ensuring those less fortunate had gifts to unwrap on Christmas Day sparked a viral campaign to help disadvantaged children across the city.
Now, a kind-hearted Edinburgh schoolboy has ensured more than 300 local families had a festive season to remember after an arduous army assault course challenge smashed a fundraising target.
Cody McManus earned recognition for his charitable effort in 2016 when his Cody’s Christmas Toybox appeal helped fill a boxing ring with almost 2,000 presents – worth an estimated £12,000 – to be passed on to less fortunate children during the holidays.
And the ten-year-old was determined to make a difference again this festive season by teaming up with Scottish Assault Courses for the challenge, which also attracted support from Nicola Sturgeon.
The five-kilometre long course took the Duddingston Primary School pupil on a route around Winton Castle, in East Lothian, as he climbed over towering walls, flipped bulky tractor tyres and commando-crawled under a net through icy water.
Cody was joined by sisters Leah, 18, Cara, 15 and dad Neil, 47, for the challenge, and insisted the course was worth it to raise enough to buy gifts.
He said: “It was cold, wet and muddy, but it was really fun.
“I was climbing along the monkey bars, over hay bales and running through the stream but the best bit was doing an army crawl under a net through muddy water.
“I was soaked and covered in mud, but I really enjoyed it.”
Cody added: “This year I wanted to help some of the children that I’ve helped the last two years so they don’t wake up to nothing at Christmas and get sad.”
The First Minister sent a donation of books and stuffed animals, while Cody and mum Denise also purchased table football, mermaid tail blankets and scooters after Cody’s own JustGiving page smashed its initial £500 target.
The family worked with charity HomeLink, care support group KinShip and local social workers to identify families in need.
Denise said: “This year Cody was offered more toys but asked the people who wanted to donate if they could help families closer to them, so instead of them donating to Cody’s campaign we asked people to contact their local community centres, schools and nurseries ensuring the gifts all went to families that really need a wee help at Christmas.”
“Families that don’t have social workers or are not linked to family support groups don’t qualify for toy donations from other charities.
“Many of the families we have helped have been hugely affected by the Universal Credit scheme, finding Christmas a nightmare.”
Cody added: “If everyone that has a wee bit extra money could help just one local family living in poverty either with toys or food then more people would have a good Christmas.
“I just want to thank everyone who has supported me and donated each year.”