A YOUNG Southampton boy has been making and selling animal drawings to raise money for his local community farm.

After reading Southampton City Farm's urgent appeal for funds to help stay open because of the coronavirus crisis, George Heslop, 9, from Shirley, has been using his free time to create dozens of animal drawings to sell and raise money for the struggling community farm.

The nine-year-old has always loved drawing animals, either tracing, copying or freehand drawing them, and he saw the appeal as a perfect excuse to start selling them for people to colour in, with all the money being given to the farm.

George's mum, Claire, is "very proud" of her son for coming up with the idea on his own.

She said: "He loves drawing animals especially, and he generally does a combination of tracing pictures, copying and freehand. He came up with the idea of selling them for people to colour in themselves at home while raising some money for charity. We asked him to think about which charity and he said 'animals'. So we thought about local animal charities and as we love visiting the City Farm, it was the perfect choice for him. He loves going there and especially the small animal/reptile room, we visit quite regularly, and I know they are struggling so It's nice to give something back.

"We're all very proud that he came up with the idea and of his little brother too as he manned the stall sometimes too."

George added: "I wanted to help the animals because I love animals, and I heard that they were running out of money to keep the farm going and the animals healthy. I wanted people to have something to do while they couldn't go out so I made them the drawings."

The drawings are being sold for £1 each, or a higher donation, and George has so far raised more than £50.

Farm manager, Russell Farley said: "George is an inspiring individual who has been so kind to raise much needed funds for Southampton City Farm. His generosity and thoughtfulness have inspired all of us on the farm and has demonstrated that there is so much love and positivity in our communities. On behalf of all of the animals, thank you George!"

The fundraiser has so far raised almost £7,000 of the £10,000 target, and anyone who wants to donate can visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/southampton-city-farm---urgent-appeal.