“The staff are working super hard to make everyone feel safe and well and healthy.”

A seven-year-old from Surrey is raising money for Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity by selling her collection of pebbles.

Betsy Morrison from a village near Dorking, thought up the idea for ‘Pebbles for Pennies’ after she was set a school project to create a bug out of stones. After making her butterfly and slug bugs, she decided to offer her remaining pebbles to school friends, in return for a donation.

Betsy arranged her collection of stones outside her house for friends to pick up as part of their daily exercise, together with a hand-washing station and pot for the pennies. She waves at friends from the window as they drop by and so far, she’s raised £52.93.

All the money raised from Pennies for Pebbles will be donated to our COVID-19 emergency appeal, which was launched to support frontline staff in the fight against the virus.

Examples of what donations given to the appeal could fund include:

  • Hot meals for staff and comfort packs for those having to stay overnight.
  • Staff travel and accommodation – for those who need to stay close by or isolate from their families so they can keep working.
  • Tablets so that staff and patients can stay connected to family and loved ones at home.
  • Staff recuperation areas so they can take a break after a long shift.

Betsy, who is in year 2 at Surrey Hills All Saints Primary School in Abinger, said:

“I wanted to raise money for the hospital charity because the staff are working super hard to make everyone feel safe and well and healthy, while putting their lives at risk. The lockdown has been a little bit tricky because I haven’t got anyone to play with, because I haven’t got a brother or a sister and I miss playing with my friends. My mummy helped me a bit with it but I had an idea in my mind for raising money and I just made it happen.”

Along with making bugs and fundraising, Betsy has been keeping busy during the lockdown by video calling friends, riding her bike, learning the violin and taking online ballet lessons.

Betsy’s mum, Gaynor, who works as a specialist safeguarding midwife at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We’re very proud of Betsy for coming up with the idea. There have been lots of lovely, positive, messages of support and we’re not quite at Captain Tom’s target yet but…you never know!”

The appeal has raised over £270,000 since launching in March.

David Smith, Head of Fundraising at Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, said: “What an amazing person Betsy is! We are incredibly grateful for the Morrison family’s support and to the whole community for their generosity these past few weeks.

“This has been an extremely challenging time for staff and we know it makes all the difference to receive such wonderful support. We are working closely with staff at the hospital to see how your donations can make the biggest impact – not only during this crisis, but for years to come. To Betsy, and all our amazing supporters: thank you.”

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