London Marathon: Donations rise after Claire Squires' death

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Media caption,
Claire Squires' brother-in-law James Birrell: "Claire is one-in-a-million"

Donations to a fund-raising page set up by a 30-year-old woman who collapsed close to the London Marathon finish line have surged since her death.

Claire Squires, a hairdresser from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, collapsed near Birdcage Walk on the final stretch of the 26.2-mile course.

Thousands of people made donations on Monday, raising more than £200,000 for the Samaritans by the end of the day.

Ms Squires was the 11th participant to die since the event began in 1981.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the Samaritans, said the charity had been "overwhelmed" by the response following the death.

'Incredibly sad'

"Claire chose to run the marathon for Samaritans as her mother Cilla Squires has been a volunteer for the charity for 24 years," she said.

Image caption,
Claire Squires climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 to raise money for the RAF Association

"This is an incredibly sad time for Claire's family and all those who knew her.

"These donations will be put into a tribute fund and, following discussions with the family, will go towards projects they feel would have been important to Claire."

On her JustGiving fund-raising page, Ms Squires had said: "I'm running the London Marathon for Samaritans because they continuously support others."

Paramedics attended to her but she died at the scene, marathon organisers said.

Formal identification of Ms Squires has not yet taken place and post-mortem tests will take place in the coming days to establish the cause of her death.

Many people have left tributes for Ms Squires on the JustGiving page and donations have also come in from fellow marathon runners.

Until Sunday, the day of the race, the page showed £400 had been raised for the charity.

Ms Squires, who worked at Moko hair salon in Church Street in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 to raise funds for the RAF Association.

In a message on the charity's website, her friend Nicola Short, who climbed the mountain with her, said: "Claire is an inspiration to us all.

"She brought laughter and love to everyone's life. She will be sorely missed by all."

'Awful for family'

In a statement the RAF Association said: "Claire was a wonderfully vibrant and energetic person, who was a keen charity supporter and loved by all who knew her.

"In 2010 she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and also took part in other fundraising events in support of the RAF Family in recent years."

Andrew Robathan, Conservative MP for South Leicestershire, paid tribute to Ms Squires, saying: "I live very close to North Kilworth, and I know a lot of people there and think I may have met her once.

"It is a tragedy, awful for the family, and a tragedy for her and all her friends."

A 22-year-old fitness instructor was the last competitor to die during the marathon, in 2007.

Media caption,
Sal Lalji from the Samaritans: "We are stunned by the response"

Prof Sanjay Sharma, medical director for the London Marathon, said Ms Squires was the only woman to have died during the marathon.

Seven of the 11 fatalities during the annual race were related to heart diseases, two people suffered brain haemorrhage and one runner died after drinking too much water.

A statement on the London Marathon website said: "We would like to emphasise that our immediate concern is for the family of the deceased.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time."

Competitors reach Birdcage Walk, bordering St James's Park, after completing 25 miles of the course, after which they pass Buckingham Palace before crossing the finish line on the Mall.

Up to 37,500 people took part in the 32nd London Marathon on Sunday.

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