Claire donations will make real difference
A mobile phone app to help people in despair could be one of the legacies of tragic marathon runner Claire Squires.
It is one of the developments being considered by the Samaritans following the massive outpouring of generosity after her death.
Claire collapsed and died near the end of the London Marathon on April 22.
The 30-year-old hairdresser, from Great Bowden, was running in aid of the Samaritans, a charity her family had supported for many years. Now the family has agreed with Samaritans how the £1.14 million that was raised in her memory will be spent to help others.
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Her mum, Cilla Squires, who has been a volunteer with the charity for more than 24 years, has been working for months to develop projects which will be supported by the Claire Squires Fund.
Cilla, who lives in North Kilworth, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received over the past few months since we lost Claire.
"The money donated in Claire's memory leaves us lost for words and it has been a great comfort to know she touched so many people.
"She would have been excited to know that so much money had been raised and we have worked so hard to make sure it is being used the way Claire would have wanted.
"Thank you to everyone who donated. No amount of money can ever bring Claire back, but we can hopefully make a real difference and leave a lasting legacy for my beautiful daughter."
Working alongside Cilla, the Samaritans staff developed a programme of projects which they believe reflects how Claire would have wanted the money to be used.
Using the money, the charity is exploring the viability of online support, including the development of a mobile app.
It is also looking at developing a partnership with Cruse Bereavement to increase the support the charity can provide to those bereaved by suicide. The money will also be used to support the continuation of Samaritans Banbury and District branch, Cilla's branch, to help the local community.
They are also considering an annual fund-raising day, or event, in Claire's memory, which will be launched in 2014.
Samaritans chief executive Catherine Johnstone said: "No one at Samaritans will forget Sunday, April 22 or the days that followed. The staggering amount of money donated in Claire's memory will create a lasting legacy at Samaritans.
"We have spent the last few months working with Cilla, and the rest of Claire's family, to decide how best to use Claire's fund.
"We are developing new projects to reach more vulnerable people, by exploring the viability of providing support in the online environment, and developing a mobile app to support people 'on the go'.
"We will continue to work closely with Claire's family and friends to make sure that the projects, in Claire's name, reflect how she would have wanted the fund to be used, helping and providing support to those in need."
Family and friends have also established the Squires Effect charity, which is raising money for The Laura Centre, Hope Against Cancer, Rainbows Hospice and Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Thousands of pounds have been raised and further fund-raising events are being planned. For more information contact: