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Claire Squires http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Squires2
|The charity fundraising web page set up by Claire Squires, who collapsed and died while running the London marathon last weekend, has raised more than £1m in less than a week – with tens of thousands of people logging on from all over the world to leave donations.|
Squires, 30, a hairdresser, had raised £500 for her chosen charity, The Samaritans, when she began the marathon. But as news of her death spread around the world that figure swelled rapidly.
"This was an emotional tribute to Claire and her spirit, an emotional response," said Rachel Kirby-Rider, executive director of fundraising at Samaritans.
"There's a lot of hardship around in society and seeing the generosity of her spirit, the fact that she was an ordinary girl, and had given up so much of her time and energy for charity, that struck a chord," she added.
At peak times during the past few days, donations to Squires's Just Giving page were flooding in at a rate of £30,000 an hour, with people giving an average of £11. On Friday, the amount raised on Squires's page passed the fundraising website's previous highest total, the £977,000 raised for Help for Heroes by the disabled Iraq war veteran Phil Packer .
The hundreds of short messages left by donors on the page gave an indication of the sense of collective grief and sympathy engendered by Squires's death. She was hailed as "an icon" and an "inspiration". Friends described her as vivacious, upbeat and larger than life.
Speaking to a local newspaper, Claire's father Paul Squires said: "It seems as though my daughter has captured the hearts of a nation. She was a wonderful, loving, giving person and it is some comfort to us as a family that people have responded in this way. It is amazing."
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