Lancashire

Student helped by homeless man gives £42k to Preston charity

Dominique Harrison-Bentzen
Image caption Dominique Harrison-Bentzen raised more than £40,000 to help the homeless in Preston

A student who embarked on a fundraising drive after a homeless man offered her his last £3 has handed over more than £40,000 to charity.

The man, known only as Robbie, offered Dominique Harrison-Bentzen cash for a taxi after she lost her bank card on a night out.

Miss Harrison-Bentzen, 22, refused, but said she was so touched she started raising money to help him get a flat.

She presented the money to Preston homelessness charity The Foxton Centre.

Fashion student Miss Harrison-Bentzen had initially hoped to raise £500 to help Robbie get off the streets.

After meeting him, the University of Central Lancashire student decided to raise money on behalf of a charity.

She chose the Foxton Centre because it was "local, credible and well-established."

Image caption Dominique Harrison-Bentzen handed the money over to Tim Keightley of The Foxton Trust

"Robbie was very keen right from the start that any money over his need would go to help other people," she said.

"The experience has been overwhelming - I can't explain enough to people that when I started it was just a small goal.

"I just set a target of £500 which seems small now but at the time it seemed massive - I gave myself a week to do it and my mum said 'That's a bit ambitious'."

She asked people to donate £3 each and spent a night on the streets with people she had met through social media.

Tim Keightley, executive director of the Knowsley Street-based Foxton Centre, said the money would be used to house people who had been sleeping rough for a long time.

"We want to see what it will take to get each individual off the streets - it may be money for the first week's rent or furniture," he said.

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