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