Family hails 'inspirational' runner

The family of Claire Squires, who died while competing in the London Marathon, have paid tribute to an "an incredible, inspirational, beautiful and driven person" as donations to her charity rose towards £500,000.

The huge surge in giving to her fundraising page came after the 30-year-old collapsed in Birdcage Walk, near St James's Park, on the final stretch of the 26.2-mile course on Sunday.

Monday saw the largest number of donations ever received in a single day on the JustGiving website, with more than 10,000 people donating together at any given time, the group said.

Claire donations pour in

Claire donations pour in
Duration: 0:55 Views: 12k

Miss Squires's family have thanked the tens of thousands of people who have donated and urged people to keep on giving. She was running the marathon in aid of the Samaritans because her mother Cilla has volunteered with the organisation for more than 20 years.

The death comes after Miss Squires' brother Grant died in 2001. A coroner recorded an open verdict into the death of the 25-year-old, who was reportedly a drug user and had become depressed after being involved in a car crash in which his girlfriend was killed.

In a statement Miss Squires's family said: "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.

"Words cannot explain what an incredible, inspirational, beautiful and driven person she was. She was loved by so many and is dearly missed by all of us. For Claire and the Samaritans, please keep the donations coming. Don't stop giving, just like her. It's what she would have wanted."

Anne-Marie Huby, managing director of JustGiving said: "The response to Claire Squires' tragic death on Sunday has been extraordinary. Out of respect for Claire's memory, we will be donating our fees back to the Samaritans."

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: "We are truly humbled by the reaction from the public following Claire's tragic death, and are overwhelmed by the support they have shown. At an appropriate time we will be speaking to Claire's family about what they feel she would have liked these donations to fund."