THE parents of little Charlie Simpson - the seven-year-old boy from Fulham whose bike ride for Haiti inspired donations of nearly £200,000 - have spoken of their struggle to comprehend the magnitude of their son's actions.

What started as a small gesture to ride a bike around South Park to raise £5,000 for the island's earthquake victims, has turned into a global phenomenon.

It has seen celebrities and people from around the world dip into their pockets and prompted newspapers to dub Charlie, from the Peterborough Estate, the Haiti Bike Boy.

The media snowball effect that has turned the Fulham Prep School pupil into an overnight celebrity has left parents Dan, 37, and Leonora, 35, in a state of disbelief.

Mr Simpson, a commodities broker, said: "Pride almost doesn't seem like a strong enough word. It is rather humbling to see your own son inspiring people like this. He's an inspiration to us as well.

"It is just incredible how this has taken off.

"We thought it was something that might make a few hundred pounds between family and friends, so to learn people from Australia and Germany and everywhere else are giving money is just mind-blowing."

Charlie, who has a sister, Alice, six, was, like millions of others, moved to act after images of the the horrific devastation caused by the massive earthquake were beamed on to his television screen.

He asked his parents if he could cycle round South Park a few times and they agreed, setting up a JustGiving page.

Within hours, the interest had started to snowball, with newspapers and TV crews sensing they had a wonderful story on their hands.

"The coverage has been incredible, I would never have imagined anything like it at all," said Mr Simpson. "But I suppose people are surprised at a seven-year-old boy showing such concern for others.

"We're always reading bad news and I guess people are crying out to read something positive and, of course, people are incredibly moved by what happened in Haiti."

He may now be a celebrity, but, despite feeling a little bit stiff after his ride, Charlie went back to school on Monday, when, to applause from his classmates, he was given a Citizenship Award.

Even little sister Alice got in on the fundraising act, raising £30 by selling cookies she made to the press.

Meanwhile, the Simpsons hope their incredible story isn't going to end just yet.

"We're hoping the money keeps rolling in. That's the most important thing," added Mr Simpson.

To sponsor Charlie go to

* Monday, January 18: Charlie sees news of devastating earthquake in Haiti and suggests to parents he does bike ride around South Park to raise money for victims. * Wednesday, January 20: Family sets up JustGiving page and tells family and friends. Within a few hours they have £4,500. *

Thursday, January 21: UNICEF catches wind of Charlie's idea and put out media release. It isn't long before TV stations and newspapers come calling.

* Friday, January 22: Appears on BBC radio shows in morning and evening. Donations up to £10,000.

* Sunday, January 24: Appears on BBC breakfast television ahead of bike ride, donations shoot up to £25,000 within minutes. Completes ride and then further round of interviews.

* Monday, January 25: On front page of several newspapers and donations go through roof, reaching £138,000.

* Tuesday, January 26: Simon Cowell donates £5,000 and figure rises to £160,000.