Devon

Archers fan from Devon 'accidentally' raises £22k for Refuge

Archers characters
Image caption Rob and Helen Titchener, played by Timothy Watson and Louiza Patikas

An Archers fan has "accidentally" raised more than £22,000 after setting up a donation page under the name of one of the radio soap's characters.

Paul Trueman, 41, from Devon, was inspired by a storyline relating to abuse suffered by character Helen Titchener at the hands of her husband, Rob in the Radio 4 drama series.

He set up the page with the initial aim of raising £1,000 for Refuge.

The Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund has raised more than £22,000.

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The page says: "All the money from the Rescue Fund will go to the brilliant Refuge, helping all those women who don't have a mate like Kirsty and their own organic cheese shop waiting for them at the end of it."

Father of two Paul said: "There's a joke among Archers fans that we think it's real, but if it was real you would go and get her.

Image copyright Paul Trueman
Image caption Paul Trueman who set up a fundraising page as character Helen Titchener

"I thought 'what if you could create a Just Giving page for a fictional person but give the money to real women who we know are in that situation?'

"It happened accidentally really - I know there's a huge Archers following on Twitter and once I'd shared it, it just took off."

Refuge, a domestic violence charity, said nothing it had done on social media had ever motivated so many people.

Chief executive Sandra Horley said of the storyline: "Rob's controlling behaviour will be all too familiar to the 3,300 abused women Refuge helps every day.

"Rob is jealous and possessive; he dictates where Helen goes and what she wears; he has isolated her from family and friends; and he undermines her intelligence and parenting skills.

"Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the 'Helen Titchener Rescue Fund' - this money will translate into specialist support for real Helen Titcheners up and down the country."

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