KINDHEARTED Wirral students have rallied to the cause of a little boy who suffers from a crippling mystery illness.
Twenty-one young people from Birkenhead Sixth Form College (BSFC) launched a social action project to benefit George Johnson - a four-year-old boy from Wallasey who suffers from a rare condition that means that he has to be fed through a tube to his heart.
George has spent most of his short life travelling back and forth from Great Ormond Street, where he has undergone more than 75 operations for the undiagnosed illness that affects his digestive system.
The brave tot needs to travel to Ohio to see a consultant who his family hopes will finally be able to shed some light on George's condition.
Sixth form students' programme was part of the National Citizen Service (NCS), which is open to 15 to 17-year-olds across the UK and aims to equip them with life-enhancing skills and experiences to develop their CVs.
Team George - set up by George's family to raise vital funds for the trip to America - will receive ﾣ1,400 after the students undertook a range of activities including a sponsored walk, bake sale and assisted shoppers with their bags in the local ASDA supermarket.
The Wirral NCS programme attracts 180 young people from the area each year.
In the last 12 months alone, BSFC students have accounted for more than 25% of the programme.
It offers students a four day residential break during which the members are able to meet like-minded people.
Once back in Wirral, students benefit from a full programme of training ranging from First Aid training to Child Exploitation Online Protection training (CEOP).
During the programme the group is introduced to local charities that drive positive change within the community which led to the students' work on behalf of George.
Student James Finegan said: "NCS has proven to be an exceptional experience for everyone from the college who participated on the programme.
"It was a fantastic opportunity to make new friends and learn about Wirral charities.
"Everyone enjoyed raising money for Team George and I will continue to volunteer on the programme throughout the summer."
Principal Kathryn Podmore said that the college has been actively recruiting students to take part on the scheme due to NSC's focus on leadership and its strong community ethos.
She said: "The Sixth Form College has a strong reputation of academic excellence - however we also place great focus on leadership and community ethos.
"The NCS programme combines all of these attributes - the programme equips its cohort with new skills and experiences and also enables students to build an impressive CV which is recognised by UCAS."
Christine Marchant, Wirral coordinator for NCS added: "The NCS programme has had wonderful support from the BSFC students. In our last project, over 50 per cent of our cohort came from the college.
"A number of students are continuing to volunteer on the programme and be ambassadors for the programme.
"BSFC students will make an extremely positive contribution to the Wirral community."