Bullies did not deter Selsey boy from giving owls a new home with inspiring fundraising challenge

A thoughtful schoolboy has secured the future of a local owl sanctuary after cycling around Selsey with his mum.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:53 pm
Arlan and his mum, Natalie, with Andy Kendall, from Owls About Town
Arlan and his mum, Natalie, with Andy Kendall, from Owls About Town

Eight-year-old Arlan West has raised more than £1,200 for Owls About Town, which had a 'short window' to relocate after losing its home in Selsey.

The business has now moved to Sidlesham and, thanks to Arlan, owner Andy Kendall can afford to continue looking after owls.

Arlan was inspired to help after meeting Andy, and his owls, during a talk at his school.

Eight-year-old Arlan West has raised more than 1,200 for Owls About Town

"He also sees them at the local fete," mum Natalie said. "He just wanted to help them have a nice new house.

"He decided he was going to cycle one mile for every owl. He did a 31-mile ride around the village over one week.

"He helped me to make a big rainbow owl wings and mask and off he pedalled around the village."

Sadly, some other local children were unkind to Arlan about the way he was dressed.

Natalie said: "It wasn't what they said that bothered him. He just couldn't understand why he was being shouted at for trying to help.

"We told Arlan that, although that wasn't a nice experience, there's lots of people routing for you.

"It was never going to stop him doing this ride. He did actually put the costume on the following morning. He owned it and did it his way."

Natalie said the response from the community has been 'phenomenal'.

She added: "We've had so many people post their love and support. The encouragement from the village all fed in.

"It's just been lovely. When we were out and about, people were waving and giving him a beep and others put money in his pot.

"Arlan loves to help. He raised just over £1,000 for the Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre last year and raised over £2,000 during the Poppy Day appeal in November.

"It's quite a feat for an eight-year-old. We are all ever so proud of him.

"He doesn't want anything from it, he doesn't expect anything. He just wants to help and that's awesome."

Andy said the generosity from Arlan was 'overwhelming' and would make a 'massive difference' to his business.

"It's fantastic," he said. "What he's done is wonderful.

"To see that from a young boy gives you a bit of hope. You always hear about bad children doing this and that but we should hear more about the good. .

"I'm a one-man band. Most of the owls have come from various human homes and who were no longer wanted.

"I don't like to ask anyone for anything [but] I said thank you [to Arlan and Natalie], telling them how much it meant to me."