A YOUNG fundraiser is urging her friends to adopt an animal instead of asking for Christmas presents.

Thea Caine, who is seven, from Burnopfield, has raised more than £2,700 for Born Free and a local charity, New Beginnings Cat Rescue.

This year alone she has raised more than £500 and recently held an event, the Big Dog Doze, to raise awareness of wild dogs such as wolves and hyenas.

She also hosted a party for 12 of her friends from Burnopfield Primary School, where they did tiger, lion and wolf facepainting, wolf and lion art, a wildlife cake sale, wild dog dancing and a wildlife safari treasure hunt.

Thea said: “Our planet is in trouble, and all the animals, including people, are in trouble too.

“Raising awareness and money for charities who can help is very important to me.”

Thea has spent the last two months setting herself dog and cat themed challenges including, the mini Great North Run dressed as a tiger, training her new dog, Dax in agility, wolf wall art, a hyena joke-a-thon and documentaries on how people can help protect wildlife and do their bit towards stopping the climate crisis.

Now the youngster has written a poem urging people to support Born Free to help wild animals.

Part of the poem reads: “Tigers are in trouble, their habitats are shrinking,

“Lions, wolves and leopards too, it really got me thinking.

“We need the world to get involved before it is too late.

“Adopt an animal for Christmas that really would be great.”