Marathon tragedy funds reach £1m

Oxford Mail: Claire Squires collapsed and died just before reaching the end of the London Marathon (RAFA/PA) Claire Squires collapsed and died just before reaching the end of the London Marathon (RAFA/PA)

A charity appeal set up by Claire Squires, who collapsed and died during the London Marathon, has raised more than £1 million for the Samaritans.

The 30-year-old runner's chosen charity said it was "deeply touched" at the public reaction to her tragic death, which has so far seen £834,000 donated directly to her page on the JustGiving website.

Gift Aid contributions totalling £179,000 have also been made by some of the 72,000 donors to the appeal so far, taking the total raised by the runner through the £1 million mark.

Commenting on the milestone, Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: "The circumstances under which the donations have reached £1 million are heartbreaking, but we would like to thank everyone for their support.

"We are deeply touched by the public's reaction to Claire Squires's very sad death."

The charity's head confirmed that no decision had yet been made about where the donations from Ms Squires's tribute fund would be spent.

Ms Johnstone added: "As agreed with Claire's family, we will be sitting down with them at an appropriate time to discuss what they feel she would have liked these donations to fund.

"However, we want to reassure everyone who has kindly contributed that every penny will go solely to the delivery of our helpline service."

Meanwhile, church officials confirmed that Miss Squires's funeral will take place next Wednesday at St Andrew's Church in the village of North Kilworth, Leicestershire.

Liz Hudson-Ollis, director of communications at the Diocese of Leicester, said Miss Squires would be buried alongside her brother Grant, who died in 2001 aged 25.

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