10-year-old Aron Anderson might just be the UK's loneliest schoolboy. He lives on Out Skerries, an archipelago in the eastern Shetland Isles, two hundred miles north of mainland Scotland and in the middle of absolutely bloody nowhere. Skerries has a primary school, but Aron is the only student that attends. A few years ago there was a secondary school as well, and so Aron had some friends—but that has since been shut down due to lack of funding, and the kids have moved away to another secondary school that's two-and-a-half hours away by boat. Aron says his best friends on the island are his dog, some ducks, and a few flocks of sheep.
The Telegraph reports that Aron's education—a dedicated schoolhouse and teacher—costs the local council £75,357 per year, or more than twice the cost of boarding at Eton. Since the '70s, the tiny island community had been fighting to save the secondary school from closure, but in 2013 they finally lost the battle. It seems inevitable that Aron's primary school follows suit. Aron's mother, who is amusingly also the head of the island's parent-teacher council, told The Telegraph that "this is going to be his first winter as the only pupil so it’s hard to tell how it will be for him."
There is a happy twist to this tale, though. Last week, Reddit's Scotland forum was so moved by Aron's story that they decided to organise a Christmas card drive. "We have 20,000 subscribers on here and if even 1% of you send a card that's 200 cards to a lonely boy to cheer his Christmas right up," says BesottedScot, a forum moderator and the organiser of the event. For anyone outside the UK, BesottedScot suggests sending a postcard instead of a Christmas card, "so that he knows where you've messaged from."