A LONG-SERVING NSPCC supporter from Salisbury is celebrating her 107 birthday today (May 14) with the launch of the charity's new fundraising day.

Anne Baker MBE has been raising money for the children’s charity for more than 60 years, and was recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours for charitable services.

As lockdown continues to ease, the charity is calling on people everywhere to play their part in giving children a great summer and brighter future – as it launches its Childhood Day campaign.

She said: “I think that Childhood Day seems like a wonderful idea, and I hope children across the South West have a day full of fun.

“The last year has been terribly difficult for everyone, including children, so I think it is great they have the chance just to be themselves in June.”

The launch of the fundraising campaign comes as the NSPCC-run service Childline releases new data highlighting the huge toll of the pandemic on young people.

Salisbury Journal:

Childline counselling

Since April last year Childline has carried out 73,088 counselling sessions about mental or emotional health. 5,646 of these counselling sessions were with children aged 11 or under, an increase of nearly a third (29 per cent) when compared to the year before.

Dame Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, said: “Throughout this pandemic, children and young people have had to deal with so many difficult new challenges, many knowing that their families were struggling with health worries and financial issues, some locked down in unsafe homes, deprived of their schools which may have been their only refuge. Many have told Childline that they have struggled to cope and their mental health has suffered as a result.

“Childline’s counsellors have been tremendously impressed by the resilience of so many young people during the pandemic, supporting themselves and each other. Nevertheless, we are all only too aware that not only education has suffered, but so has the opportunity to play."

Thousands of young people have turned to Childline over the past year.

In 37,784 mental health-related counselling sessions young people mentioned anxiety or stress, in 19,830 they discussed low mood and in 11,007 they talked about confidence issues.

The charity says mental health has remained the top reason young people have got in touch with Childline.

How to get involved

The NSPCC’s Childhood Day on June 11, launches today.

For more information, and how to sign up, visit: nspcc.org.uk/support-us/events-fundraising/childhood-day/

If you are interested in fundraising for the NSPCC, or becoming a volunteer, contact Emma Hildesley on Emma.Hildesley@NSPCC.org.uk.

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.