An Andover man has raised over £5,000 to go towards the purchase of over 100 tablets for schools in and around Andover.

Ryan Rawlinson established Tablets for Children at the start of the year as part of a drive to help local children access learning resources.

The army veteran’s campaign has now smashed its initial goal of 10 tablets, with 101 having been bought at the last count.

Ryan established Tablets for Children after having seeing how families were unable to get the technology their children needed for virtual learning.

He said: “When the government first announced the third national lockdown, I didn’t have everything I needed to set my two children up for home-schooling.

“Whilst I was able to get hold of two tablets, I saw a number of families post on social media about how it was not an affordable option for them, which meant many children would be left behind and not able to complete their studies.”

He set up the group on January 6 this year, and pledged to buy two tablets himself and appealing to the public to fund more.

The group was a runaway hit, raising £1,215 in just one day. Ryan also got his employer, Helix, involved, with the company donating £500. Other companies, such as KP Security Solutions, have also contributed to the campaign, while tablet manufacturer Lenovo offered a ‘substantial’ discount to help the money raised go further.

The bodybuilder also gained the support of town mayor Richard Rowles, who said Ryan was doing “a bloody fantastic job.”

Ryan continued: “I'm blown away by the sheer generosity of everyone that has got involved. In a pandemic, where people are not in the most ideal of situations, it’s incredibly heart-warming to know that people will still go out of their way to help those less fortunate than themselves. “

Tablets started arriving within days, and were distributed to a number of schools including Andover Church of England Primary School, Balksbury Junior School, Endeavour Primary School, and Knights Enham Junior among many others. The donations have kept coming, allowing even more tablets to be bought.

Yasamin Aldoori, Federated Deputy Headteacher from Balksbury Federation, said: “Receiving the tablets donated by Tablets for Children has had a huge impact on our federated community. It has allowed families to connect to their home learning, after a short lockdown notice.

“We can't thank them enough for what they have done for our families. The response has been overwhelming and has shown us the kindness the community around us has.”

Roman Way Primary School headteacher, Sarah Jones, said: " I cannot tell you how happy the children were to receive their very own device and how grateful parents were. Teachers are thrilled that their children can now join in with the remote learning and continue their learning."

The Tablets for Children Group can be found by clicking here and donations can be made through PayPal via this link.