Selfless young Edinburgh boxer gains British Citizen youth award

Cody McManus with the boxing ring full of Christmas presents. Picture: Neil Hanna
Cody McManus with the boxing ring full of Christmas presents. Picture: Neil Hanna
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An inspirational nine-year-old who raised thousands of pounds’ worth of toys for disadvantaged children has been honoured at Westminster with a British Citizen Youth Award medal.

Keen boxer Cody McManus from Duddingston created a Christmas Toy Box Appeal last year, aiming to fill an entire full-size boxing ring with donated toys and gifts for children living in poverty across the city and has now been honoured with a national award.

He also set himself a gruelling stamina challenge, which saw him compete in eight non-contact boxing rounds against other children, to raise more money.

Cody, who is a pupil at Duddingston Primary School and has boxed at Holyrood Boxing Gym since he was five, had invited one of his friends round to his house last year and together, they began looking through a Christmas toy catalogue.

As he began picking out things he’d like, his friend told him he “doesn’t get anything” at Christmas which sparked Cody’s drive to help those less fortunate.

In just six weeks Cody filled the boxing ring with more than 2,000 presents worth an estimated £12,000.

Cody wrote letters asking companies for support and due to his determination the appeal was a resounding success, with more than 500 children benefitting.

His philanthropic efforts earned him the Edinburgh Evening News Child of Achievement Award, followed by the Institute of Fundraisers Best Young Fundraiser Award.

Cody and his family were invited down from Edinburgh to Westminster to see Cody receive his medal of honour with the inscription “for the good of the country”.

Proud mum Denise said: “We had afternoon tea in Westminster then took part in an open-top honours bus for a lap of honour around London.

“Cody will have his name added to the Roll of Honours list and will have BCyA after his name – which is a huge honour for a nine-year-old. Me and his family have never been so proud of him.”

Cody received his medal from Ashley Banjo, creative director and lead dancer of Diversity, whose dance troupe won Britain’s Got Talent. Ashley said: “I am honoured to be able to play a part of the British Citizen Youth Awards. What a fantastic way to recognise these young people that have made a difference to their communities up and down the 

“These inspirational young people are making a difference and encouraging other young people to do the same.”

Tracy Galloway, store director of Specsavers Fort Kinnaird says: “As a partner of the BCyA, it is always uplifting to hear about the amazing and selfless acts performed by youngsters within our community.

“Whether it be raising money for charity or helping those in need, we want to grow awareness of these achievements.”

Cody is now embarking on a new campaign – Cody’s Xmas Cycle – where he is training to cycle 25 miles from Portobello to the Falkirk Wheel to raise money to buy bikes for local children this Christmas.