DONATIONS are continuing to flood in to a fundraising appeal set up by a South Tyneside football lover in memory of two Newcastle United fans killed in the MH17 airline disaster
Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson, from South Shields, set up the appeal on the Black Cats fans’ Ready to Go Messageboard in a bid to collect £100 to pay for a floral tribute to Magpies supporters John Alder, 63 and Liam Sweeney, who were among the 298 people killed in the tragedy.
But the running total reached a remarkable £20,000 within days – and is now closing in on £30,000.
More than £28,000 had been raised as the Gazette went to press.
At the request of the families, the final total will be split between two cancer charities, the Marie Curie Hospice and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Mr Ferguson, a 48-year-old sales manager, said: “Donations have come in from all over the world.
“Obviously we’ve had lots from Sunderland and Newcastle, but we’ve had them from as afar afield as Australia.
“Liam’s stepmother has terminal cancer and goes to the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle, so half the money is going to the hospice. And I was speaking to John’s sister Joyce, who told me John loved the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, so half the money is going there.”
Newcastle United paid tribute to the two loyal supporters during yesterday’s friendly clash with Sydney FC in New Zealand.
A minute’s silence was held ahead of the game, while Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew and captain Fabricio Coloccini laid wreaths on the seats where the two fans were to sit.
BT Sport – which broadcast the game live came under fire for cutting to an advert break during the tributes.
The broadcaster has apologised for the untimely advert break.
Anyone wishing to donate to Mr Ferguson’s appeal can visit www.gofundme.com/brx6wk