Claire charity tributes pass £200k
Donations to the charity of an "inspirational" runner who collapsed and died during the London Marathon have passed the £200,000 mark.
Cash has been flooding in following the death of Claire Squires during Sunday's event at a rate of hundreds of pounds a minute.
The 30-year-old hairdresser collapsed in Birdcage Walk near St James's Park on the final stretch of the 26.2-mile course. Ms Squires was running the marathon for the Samaritans because her mother has volunteered with the charity for more than 20 years.
Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the Samaritans, said the charity had been "overwhelmed" by the response following Ms Squires' death. Ms Johnstone said: "We desperately wish that it was not under these circumstances but we have been overwhelmed by the response from people donating in Claire's memory. These donations will be put into a tribute fund and, following discussions with the family, will go towards projects they feel would have been important to Claire."
Thousands of people have made donations on her JustGiving website, increasing the total from just £500 on Sunday as news of the hairdresser's death spread.
Tributes have also flooded in, with messages left for Ms Squires, from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, on the JustGiving page and Twitter. Close friend Nicola Short paid tribute to Ms Squires describing her as an "inspiration" who brought laughter and love to everyone's life. The pair climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the RAF Association last year, raising £1,500 for the charity.
Paying tribute on the association's website, Ms Short said: "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."
A statement on the London Marathon website said: "The organisers of the Virgin London Marathon would like to express their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. 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."
Tests to establish why Ms Squires collapsed as she neared the finish line are expected to take place in the coming days.
She is the 11th participant to die since the event began in 1981.