A batmitzvah girl with a sweet tooth is giving up chocolate for the whole of 2019 to raise cash for charity in memory of her late grandmother.
And Annie Miller is determined to stick to her pledge, even though her batmitzvah is this Saturday.
The 13-year-old from Barnet is looking forward to having a Dairy Milk for breakfast on 1 January. “I just want to have a piece of classic chocolate,” she said on Wednesday.
“It was all the smallest things like hot chocolate and Nutella, which I had so regularly, it’s so hard not to have them now,” she added.
The JCoSS pupil has already raised over £1,000 in aid of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice and the North London Hospice, where her grandmother passed away in 2012.
“I feel I wanted to give something back to [North London Hospice] because they were amazing when my grandma was there,” she said.
She hopes to support Noah’s Ark because “however ill the children are, they deserve to have the best possible opportunities in life; to be able to have fun, to play and to enjoy themselves. Noah’s Ark gives them the opportunity to do what someone without a disability would do”.
As part of the challenge, Annie is donating a chocolate hamper every month to a different charity, including Jewish Women’s Aid, Grief Encounter and Great Ormond Street Hospital. “I’ve learnt that everyone is not as fortunate as I am, so even just the little bit that I can help somebody can go such a long way,” she said.
Annie’s mum Nicola, 44, was inspired by her daughter’s “incredible willpower” to eat less chocolate. “She check ingredients even if it looks like it has no chocolate. If it has coco butter in it, Annie won’t eat it,” she said.
“I’ve tried a little bit. I haven’t done it completely with her,” she said. “Given that it is her batmitzvah on Saturday, I’ve been watching what I eat anyway so I’ve tried a little bit with her.”
Alison Goodman, director of fundraising for Noah’s Ark, said she had the “utmost respect” for Annie. “She has raised a huge amount of money to help seriously unwell children and their families and we are so grateful,” she said.
Annie’s head of year at JCOSS Debbie Kaye said: “Annie is an amazing student; her selfless act is one of real kindness, putting others firmly before herself. We could not be prouder of her achievements nor of the wonderful message she sends out to others.”
You can donate to Annie’s fundraising campaign online.