A 12-year-old boy has written a heart-wrenching poem after bullies told him "being ginger is worse than cancer".
Cowardly bullies sent anonymous messages to Alfie Coleiro telling him to kill himself and that his mother should never have had him because of his red locks.
Web trolls have bombarded the flame-haired youngster with cruel remarks on Instagram, PlayStation and his phone through an app that enables anonymous messages.
The brave youngster wrote a poem back to the bullies, which has since been shared hundreds of times on social media.
In the poem he described the bullies as "so so cruel" and asked "are you really like this?" and "Have you not got anything better to do?"
Alfie said the messages make him feel like "crap" and that "not even my home is my safe place".
Dad Jay Coleiro, 35, shared the poem on Facebook saying: "A message to the bullies who told my son to kill himself because gingers are worse than cancer - this is his message back."
His mum Nyree, 30, said: "There's an app that enables people to send messages anonymously.
"I have no idea what it's called but he was getting messages on his Instagram, his PlayStation, and his phone.
"He couldn't get away from it.
"It kills me that my son was subjected to this.
"He was told that he should kill himself, that I shouldn't have had him, that having ginger hair is worse than cancer.
"They sent the messages to his friends as well.
"It was so much for a 12-year-old to handle.
"As his mum and dad it killed us knowing he was being put through it."
Two days after the messages began, one of Alfie's teachers at Causeway School read them and called home.
Nyree said: "His teacher rang me because she had seen the messages - she told me she had cried when she read them.
"The school has been great. As soon as they found out about the messages they held an assembly for the whole school.
"They said if the messages didn't stop they would have to get the police involved.
"And it's worked, although we still don't know who sent them the messages have stopped.
"Bullying is such a problem nowadays.
"When I was young you could get away from it at home, but now can't escape it.
"We were also anxious because we have four boys and three of them have read hair.
"But as parents we are just so proud of him that he didn't rise to it.
"He didn't lose his confidence or lose it in general.
"He's always been a popular boy - he loves making people happy.
"So instead of rising to it he just wrote a poem."
The trainee carer said Alfie's focus with the poem was to help other young people going through the same thing.
"He's happy with the response the poem got but more happy with the fact that he can help others with it.
"He seems older than his 12 years.
"Alfie is one of the kindest boys I know - I may be biased but I don't doubt it."
Alfie has been given a year-long scholarship to a local martial arts school because of what happened.
He went for a class at MSK Martial Arts School in Eastbourne and when they found out about his ordeal decided to give him free lessons for a year.
Ian Cooper, who owns the school, said: "To be honest it wasn't a major thing at all.
"One of the instructors told me Alfie's story and it was the least I could do after his horrific ordeal.
"I wanted him to get confidence in himself and help him in whatever way I could.
"Generally though as a club, we love helping out in the community, and think what Alfie did was great.
"He's gone through enough being bullied and I had the potential to do something.
"We're a family club. He'll have a lot of big brothers behind him now - and there are some big guys in those classes."
The 40-year-old added: "Those bullies will think twice when they look at them."
Alfie took a huge swipe at detractors in the poem, branding the bullies 'cruel' - and bravely admitted they had made him cry.
He wrote: "Or are you gonna treat me like gum on the bottom of your shoe?
"You’re an idiot - you have made me cry."
The poem in full:
"Bullying ain't nice,
"It ain't cool,
"Just because I am ginger,
"You’re so so cruel,
"Are you really like this?
"Have you not got anything better to do?
"Or are you gonna treat me like gum on the bottom of your shoe?
"You’re an idiot - you have made me cry,
"But that's not the case,
"Not even my home is my safe place,
"I see the messages and feel like crap,
"It's like I’m stuck in some sort of trap,
"So I'm not okay,
"But I will say I'm fine,
"I make people happy and people fake their smiles,
"I might be faking mine,
"I've got love and support,
"That's all I need,
"Just please own up,
"Please please please,
"Don’t be like this,
"Don’t be mean,
"Can’t say it to my face,
"So you sit behind a screen,
"But I’m gonna carry on with life,
"Do what I wanna do,
"Don't interrupt me anymore,
"I’m done with you,
"So I’m not gonna sit there, cry and freak out,
"But without a doubt,
"I’m not gonna blend in,
"WHEN I WAS BORN TO STAND OUT."