Charity donations hit £140,000 for hairdresser who collapsed & died on final bend of London Marathon

Thousands of people touched by the death of a 30-year-old woman running the London Marathon today impulsively donated more than £140,000 to the charity she had been raising funds for.

Claire Squires collapsed at Birdcage Walk, near St James’s Park, on the final stretch of yesterday’s 26.2mile course.

The committed fundraiser was given medical attention at the scene but died a short time later, a statement on the marathon’s official website said.

Miss Squires, a hairdresser from North Kilworth in Leicestershire, had initially raised more than £500 on

But today, in an astonishing display of public generosity, that figure has rocketed to over £140,000 thanks to strangers touched by news reports of her death.

Her fundraising page on the site encouraged her friends to sponsor her.

She wrote: ‘Hi guys, as you all know I am running the London Marathon. It was just going to be for fun, but it’s a fab opportunity to raise money for my charity the Samaritans.

‘If everyone I know could donate £5 that would be a great help and change lives.’

A statement on the London Marathon website read: ‘We would like to emphasise that our immediate concern is for the family of the deceased.

‘Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time.’

Today, a flurry of tributes flooded in the wake of the 30-year-old’s sudden death.

Rebecca Herity wrote: ‘Such an amazing girl! Miss you so much already! Beautiful angel xxx”, while Jo Lovell also wrote: ‘Amazing lady! xxx’.

Claire Collins-Green said: ‘You are the brightest star in the sky. Love surrounds you.’

Lily Jones added: ‘Thinking of you Claire, Rest In Peace.’

A fellow runner donated £20 and wrote: ‘So sorry to hear the news. Rest easy – an angel for those who run the course in future years.’

Another donated £50 and said: ‘So tragic. Claire was an inspiration to everyone. Our thoughts are with your family and friends.’

Friends also took to Twitter to pay tribute to Miss Squires.

Daisy Milburn wrote: ‘R.I.P Claire Squires deeply saddening news & you’ll be hugely missed’, and Callie Wright wrote: ‘RIP Claire Squires – lived life to the full. Only lady I know to take hair straightners up a mountain!’

Another friend wrote on Facebook: ‘Can’t believe it. This cant be true. She was so healthy.’

Yesterday’s race was believed to have been Miss Squires’ second attempt at the London Marathon.

She has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for the RAF Association.

Miss Squires died with the finishing line only one bend away.

Birdcage Walk borders St James’s Park and is the last road that runners have to travel before reaching Buckingham Palace where they turn onto The Mall on which the finish line is located.

Competitors do not reach Birdcage Walk until after completing 25miles of the marathon.

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said today: ‘We are devastated following the tragic death of one of our marathon runners and are supporting the family through this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone who knew her.

‘We appreciate all that our marathon runners do. It is with their support, commitment and fundraising efforts that that we are able to offer our vital service for people with no where else to turn.’

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘Our staff attended a 30-year-old woman today on Birdcage Walk as part of the event and took the patient to hospital as a priority.’

Yesterday’s death was the tenth since the London Marathon began in 1981.

Five of the previous fatalities were a result of heart disease in runners apparently unaware that they had a problem.

Four of these were cases of severe coronary heart disease.

The last competitor to die was a 22-year-old fitness instructor in 2007.

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