Tyne & Wear

Alan Barnes: Fundraiser Katie Cutler meets mugging victim

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Media captionAlan Barnes: "It's like magic really, I didn't expect anything"

A woman who set up a fundraising page for a man who was mugged outside his home has met the victim as donations approached £300,000.

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, Katie Cutler set up the Help Alan Barnes online donation page on Go Fund Me.

During the meeting at Mr Barnes's sister's house, Ms Cutler presented him with chocolates and a card, and he told her she would be a friend for life.

'Lovely people'

When she set up the page, Ms Cutler's aim was to raise £500 but that was quickly passed and by noon on Saturday it had reached £100,000.

The total passed £279,000 shortly after 08:00 GMT on Monday, by which time more than 20,000 donations had been made.

The donations have come in from the UK, Canada, Holland and many other places around the world, with many praising Ms Cutler for setting up the page.

Ms Cutler, a beautician, said it showed "there are so many lovely people out there".

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

Trust fund

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?"

Stephen, who donated £5, said: "So sorry this has happened to you dear friend, I know it's not a lot, but hope it goes a long way."

Rupert wrote: "There are bad people in this world, people that wouldn't think twice of abusing a vulnerable man.

"But as this shows, those people are engulfed by good, caring and loving people that stand against these morals."

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

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

Mr Barnes's family said that the money would go into a trust fund for him.

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