Donations continue to flood in for deceased London Marathon runnerSunday, 29 April 2012
What initially began as a selfless effort to raise a few hundred pounds for charity has now exploded into generous tributes for Claire Squires on her JustGiving page. Claire tragically lost her life competing in the London Marathon last Sunday and her death has captured hearts across the globe. Half a mile from the finish line, Claire collapsed on the final stretch of the 26-mile long course last Sunday and was unable to be revived by paramedics at the scene. The 30-year-old hairdresser from Leicestershire was the 11th participant to die in the event since its launch in 1981.
The Sun has drawn attention to Claire’s sacrifice by itself donating £5,000 and calling on its readers to continue with donations until the total surpasses £1 million. Also moved by the tragedy, Sir Richard Branson announced that he would be making a ‘private donation’ to Claire’s London Marathon charity fund. The Billionaire boss of the Virgin Group is convinced, along with Samaritans, that the donations inspired by Claire’s efforts will save numerous lives. Other celebrity contributors include Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon and Chelsea footballer John Terry.
Donations rocketed in the wake of news that Claire had died running the marathon with News outlets, both offline and online, publishing links to her JustGiving donations page. These have continued throughout the week and show no signs of slowing as donations are expected to reach £1 million today (Friday). A further surprise with the donations is that they have not been limited to just the UK, coming from more than 60 different countries. In recognition of the gravity of this unprecedented event, JustGiving has waved its 6.5% charge on credit card donations.
Overwhelmed by the sacrifice of Claire and the generosity of donors, Samaritans have made a request to London Marathon organisers asking for her medal to be posthumously sent to her family and that an extra medal be given to the charity’s head office as a tribute. While delighted by the donations received and the good that will be done with them, Samaritans have expressed their sadness these were not driven by different circumstances. Consequently, Samaritans will be placing the money raised by Claire into a tribute fund and have pledged to work with her family to decide upon funding projects that would have been important to her. Claire’s family ties to Samaritans originate with her mother Cilla, a volunteer of over 20 years, and this relationship will continue.
The donations pledged to Claire Squires represent a fitting tribute to a woman described by family and friends as a giving person that was happy to use her time to help others. The London Marathon was not her first charitable endeavour having previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and participated in the Great North Run and another marathon. Claire’s family have been overwhelmed by the global outpouring of support and have asked for people to “keep the donations coming”.