Belfast Telegraph

Funeral and legacy fundraiser tops £40k mark in one day

Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A fundraiser for the family of Lyra McKee has raised more than £40,000 in just one day.

Mike Harris (36) from London first became friends with Lyra in 2014 when working on a campaign to reform libel law in Northern Ireland.

He called her a "total force of nature" and said he had been horrified to learn of her death yesterday morning.

"When I arrived in Belfast I asked around about who might be a great investigative journalist to work with," he said. "Everyone told me I had to talk to Lyra, who was only 24 at the time.

"We ran the campaign together and she was instrumental in making it happen."

Mr Harris said the money from the fundraiser, which had passed £40,000 at 11pm last night, will go to the young journalist's family for funeral expenses and to decide on her legacy.

He added: "She was an amazing person, a total force of nature. Even though she wasn't the loudest person in the room she always had a powerful, interesting and unique thing to say."

Mr Harris said the overwhelming support for the fundraising campaign included donors from the United States as well as across the UK and Ireland.

"To those who took her life, I'd say you're pretty low when you're shooting a 29-year-old woman," he said.

"I don't know how much hatred you must have in your soul to do that to anyone. I think it's truly horrific and I hope those people put their guns down."

The fundraising page is at www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-lyra-mckee.

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