Donations have flooded in across the country for Susan Taylor, the young woman who died while swimming the English Channel while raising money for Diabetes UK and Rainbows Children’s Hospice.
The 34-year-old died on Sunday just one mile out from the French coast despite the efforts of her paramedic brother to save her.
Taylor had been raising money for two charities, Diabetes UKand Rainbows Children’s Hospice. She had set herself a target of £1,250 for Diabetes UK and no specific target for the children’s hospice, but following a flurry of more than 3,000 donations from celebrities and anonymous donors, her pages have posthumously raised more than £7,000 and over £44,000 respectively.
The totalisers for both pages have been increasing rapidly in an outpouring of donations reminiscent of that which followed the death of Samaritans fundraiser Claire Squires during the London Marathon.
Donations were spurred by comedian David Walliams, himself a marathon swimming fundraiser, who gave £1,000 to Taylor’s Virgin Money Giving page. Walliams tweeted a link to his followers for Taylor’s page raising money for Rainbows, which likely accounts for the much larger fundraising total for that charity, as opposed to Diabetes UK. Many of the donations coming in to both pages on the site are anonymous, with the largest donation of all – £1,333 – also an anonymous gift.
Both charities involved have expressed their sympathies for Taylor’s family, and their gratitude for Taylor’s work with them.
A statement on the Rainbows website said that Taylor was “part of the Rainbows family” and that all those associated with the charity were devastated.
“She has been a much loved ambassador at Rainbows for over two years, helping out at events and tirelessly fundraising for us. She was more than an ambassador; she was part of the Rainbows family.
“Susan was totally dedicated to Rainbows, even taking time off from her career to devote more efforts to her fundraising. She was really looking forward to taking part in her www.createaripple.co.uk challenge and we are all so proud of what she achieved.”
In a statement Barbara Young, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: “We are extremely sad to hear of the tragic death of Susan Taylor during her Channel swim, which she organised independently to raise funds for us.”
Virgin Money Giving said that it would be waiving its usual fee for the processing of the donations for Taylor’s pages.
“Virgin Money Giving was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Susan Taylor,” a statement read. “Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time. Yes we will be waiving our usual fee, which is something we do in such tragic circumstances. Virgin Money Giving is a not for-profit organisation and we like to take such additional steps to help where appropriate.”