Still time for donations to Newcastle MH17 fans fund

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TIME is running out to donate to a fund set up in memory of two Newcastle United fans killed in the MH17 air disaster.

Lifelong Magpies fans Liam Sweeney, 28, and 63-year-old John Alder were on their way to watch their team in a pre-season tour of New Zealand when they were among the 298 people who died after their plane was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine.

Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson decided to set up an appeal to buy a floral tribute to the pair after seeing news of the disaster on fans’ forum Ready to Go.

Gary hoped to raise £100, but the sum has now topped £33,000 and will be split between Newcastle’s Marie Curie Hospice and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, at the request of the families.

Organisers of Sunderland’s Split music festival have pledged to donate money from advance ticket sales and Gary plans to wind up the fund after the money has been received.

“I am waiting for the Split Festival organisers to get their money in and then I will split it in half,” said Gary.

“It has taken me by surprise. It is all a bit of a shock.”

A funeral service for Liam Sweeney was held at Newcastle’s St Nicholas Cathedral yesterday.

Among the tributes was a wreath bearing the simple message ‘With deepest sympathy. The board of directors, players and staff at Sunderland AFC’.