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Young hero hides pompoms to help others with anxiety

Ollie holding a jar
Ollie holding a jar Image credit: bbc.co.uk

Residents living in Shropshire may have been puzzled stumbling across little pompom creatures around their local town.

There’s no need for alarm though, quite the opposite in fact, as the furry creations are “worry pets” made by an 11-year-old schoolboy to help people overcome their anxiety.

Ollie, from Muxton, Telford, has an undiagnosed genetic condition which led to having one of his kidneys removed, heart surgery and operations on his spinal cord.

He knows what’s it’s like to feel nervous, so to help others suffering from mental health conditions the schoolboy invented his own “worry pets” and started hiding them around his local town for others to find.

"He knows what it is like to feel anxious because he is constantly going into hospital,” Ollie’s mum told the BBC.

"All of his health problems, you can't see them... in the same way as mental health is often hidden.

"He has been through loads of stuff, and he is such an inspiration because he is always so kind and thoughtful to others."

In 2020 Ollie suggested to his mum they should make pompoms in an after-school club.

"He said 'Wouldn't it be good if I could make pompoms for everyone?' and it grew from that," Krista said.

When somebody finds a pompom they are encouraged to give it a “squeeze” to relieve any stress. 

Ollie has also filled goodie bags and jars for people struggling with their mental health and donating them to the TACT charity for supported housing.

"We have had such a positive connection with the community," Krista added.

The pompoms are called Eillo, which is Ollie spelt backwards.

You can support Ollie by visiting his GoFundMe page