A BIG-HEARTED schoolgirl turned Santa and has raised more then £300 for the homeless.

Aliyah Kernan, from Winsford, drew a picture of Father Christmas and decided to run a Christmas colouring competition.

The eight-year-old invited children to take part for £2 and all the proceeds will be used to buy sleeping bags for people with nowhere to live struggling to survive on the streets.

Winsford Guardian:

Aliyah Kernan with one of the winning entries in her Santa colouring competition

Mum-of-three Steph Lowdon, 28, said: "Aliyah came up with this wonderful idea all by herself. She really does have a heart of gold which makes me proud that we are bringing up our children the right way. She is always coming up with little ideas."

Winsford Guardian:

Aliyah, a pupil at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, told her mum she wants to help people living on the streets keep warm and comfortable.

Winsford Guardian:

"It's such a selfless thing for someone so young to do," said Steph. "Thank you so much to everyone who has supported Aliyah with raising money for the homeless.And to everyone who entered, everyone did a fantastic job.

Winsford Guardian:

"She raised a total of £312 which is absolutely amazing. Never did we think we would raise so much money! We're overwhelmed with the amount of people that have donated and supported her."

Winsford Guardian:

Aliyah was overwhelmed to receive 85 entries and spent ages picking the winners, it was such a difficult task.

"We had to change the age categories slightly to make it fair," added Steph."Aliyah is so shocked at how much people wanted to help her."

Winsford Guardian:

Nine age group winners were eventually selected and a special category was created adults with learning difficulties. Each winner will receive prizes donated by businesses.

Aliyah has received lots of praise for her efforts.

Winsford Guardian:

Natasha Ogden said: "Great job Aliyah. You are going to help so many people and should feel extremely proud of yourself. Your mummy and daddy must be beaming with pride."

Shauna Livens added: "I’ve been following this journey for a couple of weeks! Makes my heart burst, what an amazing thing Aliyah has done for such a fantastic cause."

Winsford Guardian:

Casandra Ikin said: "What an amazing little star! Well done."

Hayley Evans added: "Amazing thing for her to do, so glad she raised so much."

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The winners include: Elsie Ogden (1-2), Archie (3-4), Lucas Doyle-Latham (5), Melody (6), Joseph Rustage (7), Nathan Thompson (8), Ebony Ikin (9-10), Jamie Billinge (11 plus) and Charlie Thomlinson (additional needs).