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Claire's legacy: donations near $1 million in honour of runner who died during London Marathon

Date
Claire Squires ... nearly $1 million has now been donated.

Claire Squires ... nearly $1 million has now been donated.

"Don't stop giving, just like her. It's what she would have wanted."

The story of Claire Squires, the 30-year-old British hairdresser who collapsed and died on the final stretch of the London Marathon on Sunday, has raised nearly $1 million for a mental health charity close to her heart.

Ms Squires had asked her friends to support her run in the hope of raising £500 ($780) for Samaritans, a helpline for people in distress where her mother had volunteered for over two decades.

By this morning more than 50,000 people from around the world had logged onto her JustGiving.com profile and donated a total of £586,594.

The Guardian reported Ms Squires's story attracted the largest number of donations ever received on the fundraising website in a single day.

In a statement her family said: "Words cannot explain what an incredible, inspirational, beautiful and driven person she was.

"She was so loved by so many and is dearly missed by all of us.

"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.

"For Claire and the Samaritans, please keep the donations coming. Don't stop giving, just like her. It's what she would have wanted."

London's Daily Telegraph reported her boyfriend, Simon Van Herrewege, said: "I love her more than words can say and she will be dearly missed."

Sir Richard Branson was also moved to pay tribute to Ms Squires and said he would make a private donation to the cause.

"With the kind of money that has been raised by Claire's appeal, lives will definitely be saved," Sir Richard wrote in a blog post on the Virgin website.

"Hopefully it will be of some comfort to her family and friends in what must be an incredibly difficult time, to lose a daughter who is only 30-years-old.

"I've always believed that it is wonderful if you can live on after death by helping others and the human kindness shown by this outpouring of giving for Claire and Samaritans is an inspiration."

Sir Richard said he had asked the marathon organisers to send Ms Squires's family her medal and an extra medal to be hung in the Samaritans' office as a tribute.

Tests to find out why Ms Squires collapsed were expected to take place in coming days.

smh.com.au

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