Linda Colling: Tragic death has touched a nation

Claire Squires
Claire Squires
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SO moving to see the massive giving in memory of marathon runner Claire Squires which is soaring towards £1 million.

What an inspiration this woman is. And how far more worthy this giving, than some of the appeals that we see wanting us to pay for things that are not life-saving or that important.

People should take more responsibility for their own lives and that of their families, instead of relying on others to carry them along.

Here the phenomenal flood of donations reminds us all of the great goodness of people who never knew this 30-year-old hairdresser but whose hearts have been moved by her heartfelt motive for running.

This was her third marathon and she was running for the most heart-rending of reasons, to raise money for the Samaritans in memory of her brother Grant.

His death in 2001 was also a tragedy – a drug overdose at 25, he was apparently severely depressed after surviving a car crash in which his girlfriend was killed.

Losing one child is horrendous, to have lost another is too terrible to imagine.

What Claire’s parents Paul, 62, and Cilla, 63, are going through is unimaginable grief.

And in the midst of this they have said how they are drawing comfort from the spontaneous outpouring of giving from tens of thousands of people worldwide: “For Claire and the Samaritans, please keep the donations coming. Don’t stop giving, just like her. It’s what she would have wanted.”

Those words from her family will spur on more to give. All testament to an abiding truth, that out of tragedy people have a remarkable spirit for making something very wonderful happen, transcending anything we can imagine, proof that the power of good prevails.

And it is of such gigantic proportions to amaze and humble us all – a precious truth Claire’s parents will doubtless cling to and draw strength from in this, their darkest hour.

And this is the internet at its very finest, bringing together strangers to create something wonderful.

It’s something Claire’s mother could never have forseen when she so eloquently wrote on her Facebook profile a few weeks ago, words that now hold a fresh poignant signifigance: “Many we love have passed away too soon without reason.

“We remember them in a thousand different ways: in the morning; in the night. When we look at the stars. A date; a song; a place; a smell.”

The lasting legacy Claire has left is encapsulated in what she wrote on her JustGiving site: “If everyone I know could donate £5 that would be a great help and change lives.”

Claire has done just that by touching the lives of thousands and will never be forgotten.