Big-hearted boy busker raises €500 to support injured koala bears

by Sylvia Pownall

A schoolboy from Lusk has raised €500 for a koala hospital in Australia after footage of the devastation wreaked by wildfires ‘Down Under’ moved him to tears.

Music-mad Riaghan Boardman (12) collected the cash busking on Howth pier, and transferred the money to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales.

His proud mum Lisa told Dublin Gazette: “He was looking online at the fires and was nearly crying at the images of koalas caught up in it all.

“He made a sign letting people know he was raising money for them, and spent two hours out busking in the freezing cold.

“It is typical of the type of thoughtful young lad he is; we are very proud of him.

“His older sister has an anxiety disorder and he looks after her.

“I didn’t realise how bad the Australia situation was until he showed me. We have four dogs here, so we all love animals.

“He was just delighted to be able to do something to help.”

Riaghan, who lists Lewis Capaldi and Ed Sheeran among his favourite artists, is learning to play the guitar and has just bought his first amp with money he raised busking at Christmas.

His parents, Lisa and Patrick, and his two older sisters are fully behind his dream – to make it big as a singer songwriter – and he performed a solo on the 2019 Late Late Toy Show and was a quarter finalist in Junior Eurovision.

Lisa, who lives at The Commons in Lusk, said: “All he wants to do is sing.

“He goes up to Howth busking the odd Sunday, and hopes to progress to Grafton Street and eventually make a career of it.”

Classmates at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Rush are also fully behind Riaghan who, despite his tender age, already has more than 2,000 followers on Instagram.

The severe bush fires in Australia, which are the worst on record, have so far killed 29 people and ravaged tens of millions of acres of land, posing a serious threat to wildlife.

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