Banbury primary school girl donates her birthday money to the Australian wildfire victims

A ten-year-old Banbury schoolgirl was so upset by pictures of amimals being caught up in the Australian wildfires she decided to do something.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 5:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 5:38 pm
Xanthe Gibbins and her mother Christine

Xanthe Gibbins, a pupil of the Grange Primary School, sent her birthday money to the WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) charity in New South Wales, Australia.

Her mother, Christine, said: "I am Australian but got married to a Banbury man and have been living in Banbury for 20 years. My family is still in Australia in Geelong and so we keep informed about the news back at home.

"Xanthe, who wants to be a vet when she grows up, was given some money for her birthday and she decided she wanted to give some to help the animals affected by the wildfires in Australia. She donated £20 and we sent it to WIRES.

A kangaroo being treated for burns by WIRES charity workers. Picture by WIRES

"Xanthe's always been a very kind and caring child. Kindness and caring for others - humans and animals - is a big part of the ethos of her school. We're so proud of her for doing this," said Mrs Gibbins, who is a Brownie leader.

Xanthe has had a meeting with her head-teacher this week to discuss further fundraising at school for the bushfires support. A cake sale and a non-uniform day are being considered.

The CEO of WIRES, Leanne Taylor, put out a big thank you to supporters on the charity's Facebook page last week.

"In what has become one of Australia’s most severe bushfire seasons, Wires would like to take a moment to thank everyone for their support," she said.

Countless koala bears have been caught up in the raging bushfires Picture by WIRES

"From funding contributions by businesses, organisations, high profile celebrities and the overwhelming support of the international and local community, we are inspired by your generosity and committed to continuing to provide rescue and care for native animals impacted by the bushfires and preserving and protecting Australian wildlife into the future.

"While NSW has been hit the hardest with an estimated 800 million of the one billion animals affected to date and approximately five million hectares of land burnt, a National Emergency requires a national response and WIRES will act to provide assistance to all wildlife in line with our mission.

"The allocation of donations received by WIRES will be used to assist as many animals as possible across our nation - we can and will allocate funding and support to all states and territories where needed to assist animals affected by this crisis.

"Our staff, qualified experts and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure that as many native animals as possible receive the ongoing care, supplementary food and recovery they need. This includes koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums, echidnas, birds, reptiles and more.

"There is an immediate need to locate, rescue and care for injured animals and while this will be a long process in itself, there is a much longer term focus needed on supporting animals affected by the loss of habitat, the shortage of food and depletion of their populations in the wild. With the imminent risk to threatened species on the pathway to extinction as a result of the mass elimination of habitat, urgent action is needed."