'Lemonade stand' boys get Gold Blue Peter badges for Yemen fundraising

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media captionAyaan and Mikaeel raised thousands of pounds for children in Yemen by selling lemonade

Two seven-year-old boys who set up a lemonade stand to raise money for those affected by the Yemen crisis have been awarded Gold Blue Peter badges.

The best friends will feature on Blue Peter's Gold badge special show alongside other children who have "achieved incredible things".

Receiving the award earlier, the boys said it was "the best day ever".

Ayaan and Mikaeel, from Redbridge in east London, set a target to raise £500 but by the end of their first day had raised £5,000.

They went on to receive a donation from Oscar-winning actor and campaigner Angelina Jolie.

Ayaan's mum Adeela said she was "extremely proud" of her son and his friend.

"It is something we started in the midst of lockdown as we wanted to teach them a lesson of charity," she said.

"We definitely didn't expect a letter and a donation from Angelina Jolie. It's just nice to see someone of her celebrity status recognising what the boys were doing and realising we are all on the same page."

image copyrightAdeela Moosa
image captionAngelina Jolie apologised that she could not buy any of the boys' lemonade

Only a small number of gold badges are awarded each year, to people who have inspired a nation, saved a life or who have shown bravery and courage.

Previous recipients of the gold badge include the Queen, Sir David Attenborough, TV cook Dame Mary Berry, footballer Raheem Sterling and fellow fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore.

In a special message to the boys, rapper Stormzy said: "I have heard about your incredible lemonade stand and all the amazing work you guys have done. I was blown away.

"You are a pair of little legends. Wear it with pride because you deserve it."

media captionAyaan, Mikaeel and their community have raised thousands of pounds

Footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully lobbied the UK government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy in England, has also received a badge as has Greta Thunberg.

Blue Peter editor Ellen Evans said: "Each year only a few gold badges are awarded to our amazing audience who have shown outstanding bravery, overcome adversity and achieved the most brilliant things.

"It's so difficult to choose who is awarded a badge and I hope that [the children who received badges] inspire others with their stories, as both Greta and Marcus have done."

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