Hackney 11-year-old walks from Italy to Southborough Road for charity
- Credit: Phil Cox
A Hackney eleven year old received a warm welcome home after walking almost 3,000 kilometres to see his grandmother.
Romeo Cox and his father, Phil Cox, walked all the way from Sicily in Italy where he now lives, back to his former home on Southborough Road, Hackney to raise money for refugee charity REACT.
The adventure involved the pair sleeping in churches, hostels and camping under the stars - some kind people even offered their homes to the travellers.
But despite the exciting journey which included a boat journeys,cycling and a donkey, Romeo was happy to return to Hackney saying it is “easy” to walk thousands of kilometres when heading home: “I grew up in the best street in the world. Southborough Road! It is always home for me and my neighbours are like family.”
Romeo says he made many friends along the way, he visited child migrant centres and met refugees.
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Romeo’s mother Giovanna Stopponi runs the charity REACT and Romeo’s fundraiser has already raised more than £11,000 to help support the organisations drop in and community centre in Palermo, Sicily.
Money raised by his fundraiser will be used to buy 50 tablets and wifi connection for refugee and local disadvantaged kids to use and share. These kids have became Romeo’s friends and helped him when he first moved to Italy and did not speak the language.
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“I know that some kids my age and older here in Palermo have missed out on all the study during lock-down because they cannot get online for the lessons and already find themselves excluded and missing out. Being able to learn online and have digital learning is important,” Romeo said.
Phillip Barrass, head of Southborough Road residents association and organiser of Romeo’s home coming added: “Phil and Romeo’s neighbours rallied, suitably separated and masked, to mark their great home-coming. A few of us walked the last few miles from Trafalgar Square with them, and my legs still ache from that very tough eight kilometres.
“We shared trifle, cake and Prosecco and listened respectfully as Romeo told us all why he had done it, then locked the two of them securely in their house to begin their quarantine.”
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/romeosbigjourney.
Follow his story on facebook @RomeosBigJourney and instagram @romeos_big_journey-home