Donations Top £200,000 After Marathon Tragedy

Sky News23 April 2012
London Marathon Death: Tests Carried Out

Tens of thousands of pounds in donations are being made every hour to a charity chosen by a 30-year-old woman who collapsed and died near the finish line of the London Marathon.

Claire Squires, who was taking part in the race to raise money for the Samaritans , fell to the ground on the final stretch of the 26.2 mile course.

Her Just Giving page has been inundated with messages of condolence with over £200,000 in donations, up from only a few hundred pounds early in the morning and rocketing by thousands each hour this evening.

On the site, she said she had decided to compete "for fun" but also because "it's a fab opportunity to raise money for my charity, the Samaritans".

Paramedics rushed to help the hairdresser but were unable to save her and she died at the scene on Sunday afternoon.

As tests are carried out to establish the cause of the tragedy, friends and fellow runners have paid tribute to Ms Squires on her Just Giving page.

Ms Squires appears to have done extreme physical trials for charity prior to the London Marathon. In 2010 she was pictured on the peak of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro with close friend Nicola Short for the Royal Air Force Association (Rafa) charity.

Nicola Short paid tribute to her friend on the Rafa website, saying: "Claire is an inspiration to us all. She brought laughter and love to everyone's life.

"She will be sorely missed by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time."

One friend, Louise Brooks, wrote: "Stunned. What a lovely person you were Claire. I hope the money raised makes the difference you hoped it would. RIP x."

Lucy Costello added: "My thoughts and love go out to Claire's family. I didn't know Claire but was running yesterday and wanted to donate in her memory. Rest in peace. x."

And another fellow runner wrote: "You gave your today for their tomorrow. Rest easy: an angel for those who run the course in future years."

Poignant earlier messages before the race wished Ms Squires luck, with friends saying they would be waiting for her to arrive at the finish line.

Ms Squires, from North Kilworth in Leicestershire, was just one bend away from the finish, on Birdcage Walk, when she fell.

Birdcage Walk, 25 miles into the marathon, borders St James's Park and is the last road runners have to travel before reaching Buckingham Palace where they turn onto The Mall and the finish.

A statement on the London Marathon website said: "We would like to emphasise that our immediate concern is for the family of the deceased. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time."

Ms Squires' death is the 10th fatality since the London Marathon began in 1981.

Five have been the result of heart disease in runners apparently unaware that they had a problem. Four of these were cases of severe coronary heart disease.

The last competitor to die was a 22-year-old fitness instructor in 2007.

Prince Harry was among the cheering crowds as tens of thousands of runners and amateur athletes completed the 32nd London Marathon.

Up to 37,500 runners set off through the streets of the capital to earn their medals and raise money for countless charities.

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