Tyne & Wear

Alan Barnes: Disabled mugging victim fund reaches £200k

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Media captionAlan Barnes: "I decided instantly, I wouldn't go back to that house"

Donations to a disabled pensioner who was mugged outside his home have now passed £200,000.

Alan Barnes, who is visually impaired, was left too afraid to return to his home in Low Fell, Gateshead, after the attack on 25 January.

Mr Barnes, 67, broke his collarbone when he was pushed to the ground.

Following reports of the attack, which police described as "disgraceful", the Help Alan Barnes online donation page was created on the Go Fund Me site.

Beautician Katie Cutler, who set up the page, said it showed "there are so many lovely people out there".

She said: "Not just people in the North East, but we've had people donating from Canada, Holland, down south, the USA, New Zealand.

"This person that hurt Alan is just a minority."

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Media captionGateshead Alan Barnes mugging: Fundraiser 'in shock' over donations

Mr Barnes, who has lived with disabilities from birth after his mother contracted German measles when she was pregnant, said it was "just unbelievable".

"I've heard of fundraising for charities but I've only got a fractured collarbone, I didn't expect that sort of response," he said.

"Thank you doesn't really seem to answer it, does it?"

'Restored faith'

Ms Cutler's aim was to raise £500 but that was quickly passed and by Sunday it had reached £200,000 with more than 15,000 people contributing.

Many had left comments wishing Mr Barnes well and praising Ms Cutler for what she had done.

One person who donated, Geoff Poole, said: "The life of Alan Barnes will be improved and he will feel safer, not only because of the extreme generosity of the people donating, but also because of the selfless act performed by Katie, who took the time to help someone she doesn't even know.

"Well done Katie, you have restored my faith in human nature."

Patricia McAlpine wrote: "Hope you find a beautiful new home Alan and never have to worry about your safety again."

Ms Cutler said she was "over the moon" and could not believe people's generosity.

There had also been offers of practical help from plumbers, electricians, bathroom and kitchen fitters, carpet layers and people donating furniture, she said.

She also wrote on the site that businesses and schools had told her they were holding fundraising events for Mr Barnes.

"If people want to give this man money I think they should be able to whatever the total is," she said.

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