13-year-old Milo McCarthy is the man of the moment

"YOU need to get started and then you’re halfway there,” — the words of 13-year-old Milo McCarthy after he received a Person of the Year award last month.
13-year-old Milo McCarthy is the man of the moment

The teenager got the award because he raised €18,000 for Syrian refugees by busking on the streets of Cork city and his hometown of Midleton.

“My dad and I watched the TV and we saw all the pictures of the refugees and Alan Kurdi on the beach and I wasn’t going to let it pass by and think ‘poor them’ and let them get on with their lives. I wanted to make things a little better.”

Milo, who plays a wide mix but loves the songs of David Bowie, Chuck Berry, and U2, used to be too shy to busk in cities like Cork.

“But I did it twice a week for four months so I got past that.”

The Midleton College student set himself a fundraising target — €10,000 — but he also had another goal: to busk for this cause for 26 hours.

“I reached €10,000 at the 15th hour so I kept going.”

The money is for families in refugee camps, to buy them supplies.

“I’m happy I’ve changed this a bit. If everyone came together and changed it a bit, the world would be a better place.”

Milo also participated in an annual busk for the homeless in Cork, where several musicians came together to raise funds for Cork Penny Dinners.

The first-year student doesn’t see anything too out of the ordinary about his amazing achievement. “I’m just an ordinary 13-year-old, just a regular kid.”

Dad Ronan — he and wife Jess have two other children, Ollie, 10, and Clara, nine — echoes Milo’s words.

“He’s just a very normal, compassionate, thoughtful kid, like all kids are. He just wanted to do something. I’d say a lot of children would if they came up with the idea.”

Ronan is thrilled his son’s achievement has been recognised.

Raising the funds took “a long time and a lot of trips to Cork and putting a lot of stuff off — cancelling trips with friends — and putting the doing of something for someone else above that. He had to decide this for himself”.

His dad feels Milo knows that actions are much more powerful than words: “He understands that it’s about acting on our thoughts — rather than speaking our thoughts and doing nothing about them.”

Fact file 2016 People of the Year award-winners include:

Róisín and Mark Molloy for their campaign highlighting inadequate standards of maternity services, after they lost their own baby Mark.

Brother Kevin Crowley for running the Capuchin Day Centre. It serves hundreds of dinners each day to rough sleepers and catered for 8,000 children who attended for meals in 2015.

Alan Herdman, 24, for saving the lives of eight young children who nearly drowned in Rusheen Bay, Co Galway, in July.

Davitt Walsh for the bravery he showed rescuing a young baby from the Buncrana pier tragedy in March.

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