Meet the Portsmouth five-year-old with autism who is giving 100 hugs for Children in Need

HUGGING 100 people in 48 hours is the goal for a five-year-old who doesn’t want to let his autism stop him from helping Children in Need.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 3:48 pm
George Bates, 5, from Somers Town is not letting his autism stop him as he collects 100 hugs to raise funds for Children in Need

George Bates first heard about the charity when a non-school uniform day was announced for St Jude’s C of E Primary School, and told his mum Leah he wanted to turn his £1 donation into more.

‘At first he wanted to do a 1,000 mile bike ride,’ said Leah.

‘We had to discourage him, his helmet was on and he was ready.’

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George Bates, 5, from Somers Town is not letting his autism stop him as he collects 100 hugs to raise funds for Children in Need

Leah, from Somers Town, encouraged George to think what he could do to make people happy to raise some funds, and he chose the challenge of hugging 100 people in 48 hours.

Due to his autism, George can struggle to build friendships with his peers but has found this challenge has really helped, as well as tying in with anti-bullying week at school.

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Leah said: ‘He’s gone from nearly no friends to people asking him to come to their party.

‘One of his targets was for George to get one friend. It’s been a massive boost for his self-esteem.’

George keeps hugging his little sister Ada, who just turned one, and asks if it counts towards his total. Not that he needs this help, as the total keeps going up, and includes family, friends and teachers including class teacher Mr Green.

Leah added: ‘George is the most amazing son and big brother, everyone who meets him truly falls head over heels!

‘He never lets his autism stop him from achieving things, his class teacher Mr Green is so supportive in everything George does and gives George the confidence in class to try his best, he said in parents evening that George is the most polite and well mannered child in his class. 

‘[George has] only been at the school a couple of months, any change in routine is usually a big thing but he’s taking it all in his stride. He doesn’t let the autism stop him.’

A donation page has been set up at facebook.com/600045039/posts/10157650656270040, and every time someone donates Leah tells George who it is and he saves them a hug.