Belfast Telegraph

Rhys and his clarinet go busking for grandad

By AMANDA FERGUSON

The special bond between grandfather and grandson has inspired an east Belfast schoolboy to raise funds for charity.

When Rhys O'Mahony-Truesdale discovered that research into Alzheimer's disease is underfunded he decided to put his clarinet-playing skills to good use.

Rhys' grandfather Geoff suffers from Alzheimer's.

Just 40 minutes of playing in Belfast city centre, promoted with a sign saying 'Today I'm busking for my Grandad' generated £170.14 to go to the Alzheimer's Society for research.

Not put off by the icy temperatures, 10-year-old Rhys wrapped himself up and put his Santa Hat back on and took to the streets again for another hour last night, raising even more.

A crowd gathered as Rhys played a selection of Christmas songs as well as Ave Maria – which according to his mum Keavy seems to be the biggest hit with passers-by.

She said: "They seem to be a big fan of Ave Maria. It's a real stopping point, people would walk past, see his poster and you would just see their faces melt."

She continued: "Rhys was absolutely freezing tonight.

"I couldn't find fingerless gloves for him so I cut the fingers off ordinary gloves for him but I promised him a big hot chocolate when he got home."

Last night he raised £204.77 bringing the total up to £374.91 for just one hour and 40 minutes busking. The St Joseph's Primary School pupil told the Belfast Telegraph he was very pleased with the response he got from the public and thanked everyone for their support.

"My grandad has Alzheimer's and not a lot of money goes into it so I wanted to help," he said.

"People passing by while I was playing my clarinet were saying well done and dropping money into my collection box. I am really pleased I did it."

Rhys' mother Keavy said the whole family was very proud.

"My husband's father Geoff Truesdale was diagnosed with Alzheimer's earlier this year," she said. "We were discussing Alzheimer's as a family and Rhys decided he wanted to raise awareness and some money too."

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