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Donations for attacked pensioner smash £160k barrier

An online campaign to raise cash for a disabled pensioner has topped £160,000 - smashing the original target of just £500.

The GoFundMepage was set up by Katie Cutler, who took pity on 67-year-old Alan Barnes after hearing of his terror at returning home to Low Fell in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, where he was badly beaten up in an attempted robbery.

The total has now topped £160,000 Credit: GoFundMe

Mr Barnes was born with a number of disabilities, including visual impairments and stunted growth, after his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy.

He was knocked to the ground and threatened in the attack last week, which left him with a broken collar bone.

Ms Cutler set up the page to raise a few hundred pounds to help him in his search for new accommodation - but with donations of up to £1,000 a time flooding in over the past two days, the original target has been beaten many times over.

£100k raised for disabled attack victim Alan Barnes

More than £100,000 has been raised to help relocate a visually impaired disabled pensioner who was left too scared to go home after being attacked near his home on Sunday.

An online campaign to raise money for 67-year-old Alan Barnes was set up earlier this week after he spoke out about his fears of returning to his house in Low Fell in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, after he was pushed to the ground and threatened during an attempted robbery.

The Help Alan Barnes online donation page has so far caught the attention of 7,724 donors and raised £100,085 to help with the pensioner's relocation costs.

Help Alan Barnes online donation page Credit: gofundme

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Tyneside girl 'died a hero' trying to save friend in river

A teenager died a hero but "most importantly" a friend when she tried in vain to save a girl from a fast-flowing river, the rector conducting her funeral said today.

Tonibeth Purvis has been called a "hero" by the Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Washington, Tyne and Wear

Tonibeth Purvis, 15, from Barmston in Washington, Tyne and Wear, and Chloe Fowler, 14, from Shiney Row, near Sunderland, died after getting into difficulties in the River Wear last Tuesday.

It is thought that Chloe got into the river at Fatfield to cool off during the heatwave and, when she started to struggle in the water, other teenagers went in to help her.

The girls' bodies were found hours after a major rescue attempt was launched by the emergency services.

Family pay tribute to 'kind and caring' Chloe

The family of Chloe Fowler, 14, who died in the River Wear yesterday, have described her as "a beautiful, kind and caring girl" in a statement released by Northumbria Police.

Superintendent Alan Veitch said that Chloe was one of a number of children who attempted to rescue fifteen-year-old Tonibeth Purvis, before she too got into difficulties.

Chloe Fowler, 14, entered the river to help her another teenager, who also died. Credit: Northumbria Police handout

The bodies of both of the teenagers were recovered by police dive teams last night.

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Police: Families 'distraught' over river deaths

Northumbria Police said that the families of two girls who died in the River Wear are "completely distraught at what has happened" and added that officers are doing everything possible to support them.

We are aware there has been some speculation about what has happened but I'd like to emphasise that we are speaking with witnesses to establish exactly what has happened and it's still too early to determine the circumstances.

At this stage we believe a group of friends had been at the riverside and two went into the water and the others tried to help, along with members of the public.

This is an absolute tragedy and our deepest sympathies are with the families of the two girls at what must be a devastating time for them.

– Northumbria police superintendent Alan Veitch

Children 'tried to rescue' girl in river police say

Northumbria Police said that they believed a number of children tried to rescue one of the girls who died in the River Wear, before a second got into difficulties and died.

Supt Veitch said Chloe, who was from Shiney Row, near Sunderland, got into the water of her own free will.

Chloe went in first, Tonibeth and others went in to help her.

Tonibeth got into difficulties and so have the others.

The emerging picture is that she went in to keep cool.

I think there's a lot of children who were trying to effect a rescue.

– Northumbria Police Superintendent Alan Veitch

The officer said the children who survived were traumatised and receiving counselling.

Tributes pour in for two teenage girls who died in river

Tributes have been paid to the two teenagers, with Tonibeth, from Barmston, Washington, being hailed as a hero.

Friends of the pair have been laying flowers on the riverbank and paying their respects.

Amy Bell, 13, said: "I knew Chloe, she was a fantastic girl and she did not deserve this at all."

Tributes left by the river where Tonibeth Purvis, 15, and Chloe Fowler, 14, died. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Joss Richards, 13, who was in the same school class as Tonibeth, said: "I'm really devastated that she has gone."

One card left with flowers said: "RIP Tonibeth you are a hero."

Another left for Chloe said: "Heaven has gained a beautiful angel who will be greatly missed."

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