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.
More than £12,000 has been raised for a frail and visually impaired pensioner who was attacked near his home.Read the full story ›
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, 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.
Chloe was a beautiful, kind and caring girl and we as a family are devastated by what has happened.
We would like to thank everyone involved in helping us to look for the girls. We would ask that we are given some time and privacy to grieve.
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.
The bodies of both of the teenagers were recovered by police dive teams last night.
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 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.
The officer said the children who survived were traumatised and receiving counselling.
Flowers and messages have been left at the scene where two teenage girls died in the River Wear. Tonibeth Purvis, 15, died trying to save her friend Chloe Fowler, 14, yesterday.
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."
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."
Friends of Tonibeth Purvis, 15, and Chloe Fowler, 14, who died in the River Wear yesterday, have taken to Twitter to describe their shock at the death of the teenagers.
One user, @Michael_Hall96 wrote: "I'll never step foot in that river again, not taking life for granted anymore!! RIP toni purvis and chloe fowler."
Another, @shannon97xxxxxx wrote: "Can't get over whats happened, rip toni beth and chloe fowlerx."
"Rest in peace Toni-Beth Purvis and Chloe Fowler, rest in peace angels, you will both be such a big miss", @laurenlsmithx, said.