Alan Barnes was mugged and attacked outside his home in Tyneside last month, leaving the 67-year-old — who has suffered with disabilities all of his life after his mother contracted German measles whilst he was in utero — too afraid to return to his own home.
Mr Barnes, who suffers with disabilities such as growth and sight problems, was pushed to the ground by a man who then began searching his pockets for money, leaving the vulnerable pensioner with a broken collar bone. However, Katie Cutler came to the man’s aid with a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign, which was initially set up to raise £500 for Barnes in order to help him with the expense of fundraising. The campaign then snowballed, with it achieving its target goal swiftly before continuing to rack up the cash, eventually settling on £298,826, raised by 22,776 people in just 4 days.
Now Cutler and Barnes have met together for the first time for a joint interview with BBC News, with Barnes admitting that he was overwhelmed by the response, and a tearful Cutler saying that alongside the crowdfunding campaign, people have offered to fit Barnes’ home with a kitchen, bathroom, conservatory and more.
When asked by the BBC whether she was enjoying all the attention she had received from the campaign, Cutler replied: “I don’t know… it’s very tiring. But hearing all the kind words from people… it does mean a lot.”
The crowdfunding campaign’s page, written by Cutler, reads: “I’m trying to raise £500 for Alan which will help him towards the cost of relocating in order for him to feel safe & carry on with his life. After reading his article on the Mirror.co.uk I was so upset that anyone could target a disabled pensioner & be so cruel.
“We can’t take away what has happened but with a little donation we can make the future a prettier one & help towards the cost of his new home.”
Barnes has stated that he has hired a solicitor and will put the donations “to good use”.