Crowborough girl finds treasure at the end of a rainbow


A 12-year-old girl from Crowborough has raised more than £600 for the NHS by making and selling plastic bead rainbows “to cheer people up”.

Olivia Anker thought of the idea while being home-schooled in lockdown during her final year at St Mary’s School.

NHS Rainbows

Shrugging off the disappointment of a cancelled school trip to Wales, she used Hama beads to make hundreds of rainbows thanking NHS staff for their hard work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaving her multi-coloured creations in a pot at the end of her drive with a sign inviting passers-by to ‘Take a rainbow – donations please for the NHS’.

Olivia, who was 11-year-old at the time, was soon overwhelmed by the response. To keep up with demand she recruited her sister Lucy and brother Joseph, then aged nine and six, onto the production line.

Olivia and her siblings watched with delight as the donations flooded in.

Olivia’s mum Yana, a community staff nurse with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s High Wealden Primary Care Network, said:

They would get very excited and kept a close eye to see if the rainbow pot needed refilling.

Donations ranged from 20p to £50, with one donor leaving a bag of sweets for them and a £5 note.

Olivia’s mum Yana

Money to be spent in Crowborough

As word of the fundraising appeal spread, neighbours snapped up rainbows, friends driving by stopped to contribute, and there were even a few mail orders.

Olivia eventually raised £614 and gave the money to Sussex Community NHS Charity, the Trust’s official charity. The money will be spend in Crowborough on projects that fall outside the scope of the Trust’s core funding, such as those designed to improve patient care and staff wellbeing.

When Olivia started fundraising, it was a really difficult time for her because of the first lockdown.

It not only forced her to miss out on the trip to Wales with her friends, but affected her preparations for the transition to her secondary school.

But instead of letting it all get to her and feeling sorry for herself, she came up with a great way to help a cause which is very close to everyone’s hearts – the NHS. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

Olivia’s mum and husband David


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  1. Well done Olivia,
    Just £614, with suitable advertising, I can see your idea making thousands. It goes to show that lateral thinking can transform an enterprising idea even at your age.
    I would happily pay £5.00 for one. Please advise.

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