A SOUTH Tyneside football fan who set up a fundraising appeal in memory of two Newcastle United supporters killed in the Ukraine plane tragedy says he is “overwhelmed” it has now hit £18,000.
Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson, from South Shields, set up an online fundraising site hoping to raise £100 for a floral tribute to Toon devotees John Alder, 68, and Liam Sweeney, 23, who were on board Flight MH17 shot down over the Ukraine on Thursday.
Since it began, Sunderland fans have cast aside traditional Tyne-Wear rivalries to donate in their hundreds.
Gary, 48, said: “It has taken my by surprise. The phone has never stopped. It’s overwhelming.”
The appeal site said: “We may be Sunderland fans, who traditionally have deep rivalry with Newcastle, but there are things far more important than any football games.
“The incredibly sad news that has emerged this week about two Newcastle fans who have passed has left us all shocked and deeply saddened.
“Donating here will help pay for a floral tribute to those fans and to unity between the two clubs.
“Any extra money will be donated to a charity that has yet to be decided.
“Thank you for your time, effort and donations.
“RIP to John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who were both far too young.”
To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/brx6wk