Celebrities rally to help 11-year-old who misplaced finger ‘fleeing faculty bullies’ | UK Information
Celebrity sports stars have joined the hundreds of people who have sent messages of support to an 11-year-old boy who lost a finger while fleeing bullies.
Raheem Bailey was beaten by a group of children at school, his mum Shantal Bailey said.
He tried to escape, but got his right-hand ring finger caught while climbing a fence, and it later had to be amputated.
She said Raheem has faced “racial and physical abuse” since he started secondary school in South Wales in September.
The family have received a flood of support since Ms Bailey described her son’s plight in a GoFundMe page she set up last week to support his recovery, which hit more than £90,000 in donations by Sunday.
Boxer Anthony Joshua and footballers Jadon Sancho and Ashley Williams have sent private messages of support through Ms Bailey’s Instagram.
Ms Bailey said Raheem also received messages from football manager and ex-Spurs player Chris Hughton, pundit Gary Neville and Olympic BMX biker Kye Whyte.
US basketball player Gerald Green, who forged a hugely successful career with nine fingers, has even set up a call to speak to Raheem directly, she added.
She said: “Here’s so many people just in different places that have been so generous, and I did not expect what has happened so I am truly, truly grateful for it.”
Describing what happened to Raheem, she said: “While he was climbing over, he had a ring on, and his ring attached to the fence and it ripped but also broke his finger.
“Basically, he was running away because he was so tired of being picked on every day.”
Ms Bailey said her son was “truly brave” and had been “in utter agony”.
“The whole time [he was] telling me ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry mummy. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t stay there, like why does no-one like me?'”
On how he is doing now, she said: “Occasionally, he’s feeling very down and I have to talk to him and make him understand that no matter what, I will be there.”
But she added the support has “really put smiles on his face” and is “making him pick his head up”.
She also said the messages he has received mean so much, as people tell him “how strong he is and that this does not define him”.
Speaking about the wider issue of bullying and racism in schools, she said: “Why should I send my child into school to be a punching bag?”
“I just don’t understand, something needs to be done, I think it needs a conversation to be had.”
Growing tearful, she said: “It is difficult, as a mum, having to tell your child that people might not like you because of your skin – not because you’re mean, not because you’re horrible, but just because of the skin he was born into.”
Gwent Police has said it is currently investigating a report of an assault of an 11-year-old boy at a school in Abertillery on Tuesday 17 May.
Superintendent Vicki Townsend said: “Our officers are supporting and liaising closely with the family of the young boy who, when leaving the school grounds following the reported assault, received a serious injury to his hand as a result of it being caught in a fence.
“Since we received this report, on Wednesday 18 May, there has been significant interest and coverage of this. I would urge people to think about the impact of their social media posts and commentary could have on those affected, as the police investigation continues.
“We’re working closely with the school and officers continue to carry out inquiries in the area.”
The Welsh government said: “We condemn bullying and racial harassment in any form and expect allegations and incidents of bullying and racism to be fully investigated by schools, with appropriate action taken to address the matter and prevent further instances from happening.”