A 10-YEAR-OLD autistic boy from Dromore hopes to raise over £1,000 for a cancer charity in memory of his beloved grandfather.

Samuel Bukowski, a P6 pupil at Holy Trinity Primary School in Enniskillen, started his various fundraising activities for Cancer Research UK when he was aged just nine years old.

He lost his grandfather, William Neil, to pancreatic cancer and does not want the same thing happening to other people.

At the start of this year, he began an 18-month hair-growing challenge. When it ends next June, Samuel’s hair will be cut and donated to the Little Princess Trust to be used to make wigs for cancer victims.

Samuel’s proud mother, Rachel, told the Impartial Reporter that his fundraising activities had spiralled from there, including holding a cake sale at their house.

Rachel said that Samuel was being cheered on at every occasion by his eight-year-old sister Charlotte, who is also a pupil at Holy Trinity. They also have a younger sister, toddler Emily.

She said: “Samuel set himself this challenge back in January this year after losing his grandad to pancreatic cancer and I have supported him in his idea because this is what is making him happy.

“He often asks how much has he raised and I would be delighted for him if we could make it over £1,000, he would be delighted with that.”

A number of local celebrities, including Hugo Duncan, Frank Mitchell and the Belfast Giants ice hockey team, have posted ‘selfies’ on Samuel’s Hairy Challenge Facebook page to show their support of his efforts.

Inspired by his grandfather’s love of country music, the tireless youngster is now organising a special Christmas concert in Mahon’s Hotel in Irvinestown, which is due to take place on Friday, December 29.

Taking to the stage will be some of the biggest names on the Irish country scene, including Brendan Shine and, of course, Hugo Duncan.

Praising all the support that Samuel had received so far from the local community and businesses, Rachel said: “It’s been really humbling. People have been lovely and so generous. Things aren’t always easy for Samuel because of his autism, but every donation puts a smile on his face.”

Looking ahead to the country night at the end of the month, Samuel also thanked everybody who had supported him so far.

He joked: “I might be doing some dancing, but it’ll be backstage!”

Meanwhile, Danielle Sheridan, local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, said she was delighted Samuel chose to support Cancer Research UK and is urging everyone to support him in his challenge.

She said: “For a 10-year-old boy to want to set himself a challenge in order to raise money for a charity it is amazing. Such a kind and caring young boy.

“And now to move on to wanting to organise an event like this to raise even more money is even more heart-warming and I would love to see the public offer him their support.

“Samuel wants to help make sure other children don’t have to suffer the loss of a grandparent like he had to and I think that is such an amazing gesture from a 10-year-old boy.”