“I’ve heard of fund-raising for charities but I’ve only got a fractured collarbone. I didn’t expect that sort of response.”
Disabled British pensioner Alan Barnes, who was mugged outside his home, says “it’s hard to take in” how much money has been raised by a fund set up to help him move to a new home.
Mr. Barnes, who is visually impaired and weighs just 83 pounds, was knocked to the ground as he took his trash out on January 25. His attacker demanded money and checked through his victim’s pockets, but ran off when Mr. Barnes called for help.
The 67-year-old British man was left with a broken collarbone and was too afraid to return home.
Following reports of the attack, which police described as “disgraceful,” beautician Katie Cutler was moved to set up the Help Alan Barnes online donation page on the Go Fund Me site. She wrote: “I was so upset that anyone could target a disabled pensioner and be so cruel.” She expected to raise just 500 British pounds ($750). Instead, the Alan Barnes Fund on website GoFundMe has now passed 227,648 British pounds ($342,000) with donations coming in from around the world.
“I was absolutely amazed at that, I didn’t expect anything like that. I haven’t really thought about what to spend it on because I didn’t expect anything,” Barnes said. “I won’t be wasting it and I’ll use on somewhere else to live.”
Barnes, who was born with a number of defects after his mother contracted German Measles while pregnant, said he was grateful to Cutler for setting up the fund.
“I’m really grateful and a thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for how I feel,” he said. “I’ve heard of people getting get well cards but not this.”
The experience has also been overwhelming for Cutler.
“I had just put my daughter to bed when I came across Alan’s story on Wednesday night and I was really upset by what I had read,” the beautician said, according to Mail Online.
“Alan obviously can’t defend himself and he must have been so afraid. He comes across as such a quiet, timid, man and I can’t imagine how this must have affected him.
“I wanted to do something to help so I went online to set up a fundraising page. I had heard that he was too afraid to go back to his old house so I thought raising a few hundred pound might help him to find somewhere new.”
The young mom said she was “lost for words” at the huge outpouring of support for her elderly neighbor. “It doesn’t feel real, I’m so over the moon,” Cutler said.
“I think now he could probably buy a nice little bungalow for himself with a nice little garden.
“Also I’ve had people contact me with regards to donating kitchens, bathrooms, carpets, offering plumbing services and electrical services so I think he is going to have a nice place to live.”
Watch a Telegraph interview with Alan Barnes: