Massive $300,000 raised for elderly, disabled, mugging victim as online drive goes viral

Mr Alan Barnes in a screenshot from an online report. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE
Mr Alan Barnes in a screenshot from an online report. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE

An online fund created to help an elderly disabled man who was mugged in northern England has raised a massive £150,000 (S$300,000) in less than a week, according to a BBC report.

Alan Barnes, 67 - who has suffered from disabilities since birth after his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy, fell to the ground and broke his collarbone after he was attacked outside his home in Gateshead, north-east England.

He was too afraid to return home and has been staying with his sister since the incident on Jan 25.

Local beautician Katie Cutler started a GoFundMe campaign to raise about £500 to help Mr Barnes move house.

But the campaign quickly went viral.

Ms Cutler told the BBC she was “overwhelmed” by the success of the campaign, with donations received from around the world.

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

Mr Barnes, who is just 137cm tall and who suffers from impaired vision, said he was touched by people’s generosity, describing it as “just unbelievable”.

“I’ve heard of fund-raising 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?”

By 18.00 GMT on Saturday (2am Sunday in Singapore), the fund had reached £151,369, with more than 11,700 people contributing, said the BBC.

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

One, 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."

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.