The family of Claire Squires, who collapsed and died a mile from the finishing line at the London marathon, have paid tribute to her, urging people to continue to donate to her chosen charity.
The 30-year-old was described by her family as “an incredibly, inspirational, beautiful and driven person” after she collapsed at Birdcage Walk, near St James’ Park, on the final stretch of the 26.2 mile course on Sunday.
Donations to the charity, the Samaritans, which she had chosen to run for, have rocketed to above £700,000 since news of her death spread. While more than 50,000 people have donated £600,000 to the charity, the online donations site, JustGiving, has agreed to waive a five percent fee, bumping up figures.
Ms Squires had chosen to support the charity because her mother, Cilla, had volunteered with the organisation for more than 20 years.
Her death comes after her brother Grant died in 2001. A coroner recorded an open verdict into the death of the 25-year-old, who was reportedly a drug user and had become depressed after being involved in a car crash in which his girlfriend was killed.
In a statement, her family said: “On behalf of Claire’s family and all those who knew and loved her – we would like to say thank you so much for everyone’s support.
“Claire would be so happy and overwhelmed with the incredible support that has been offered by thousands of people from all over the world. Her family appreciate the kind messages posted online very much.
“Words cannot explain what an incredible, inspirational, beautiful and driven person she was. She was loved by so many and is dearly missed by all of us.”
The statement continued: “For Claire and the Samaritans, please keep the donations coming.
“Don’t stop giving, just like her. It’s what she would have wanted.”
Anne-Marie Huby, managing director of JustGiving, said: “The response to Claire Squires’ tragic death on Sunday has been extraordinary. Out of respect for Claire’s memory, we will be donating our fees back to the Samaritans.”
Samaritans’ chief executive Catherine Johnstone said the charity had been “overwhelmed” by the donations and would be speaking to Miss Squires’ family about how the money should be used.