UK & World News

  • 20 July 2014, 14:32

Newcastle Fans Fund Gets Thousands From Rivals

Sunderland football supporters have raised more than 15,000 for a fund in tribute to the two Newcastle fans killed in the Malaysia Airlines disaster.

Liam Sweeney, 28, and John Adler, 63, were going to watch their team play in a pre-season tour of New Zealand.

In a show of solidarity with their bitter rivals, Sunderland fans set up an online fundraising drive.

The aim was to raise 100 for a floral tribute, but hundreds of people are continuing to add donations.

A friend of Mr Sweeney's, Amanda-Jade Fowler, said his father Barry was "touched and overwhelmed" by all the support.

"He said he felt humbled that so many people want to get involved and help.

"I am just in shock that I will not see Liam again. I was only speaking to him last week at Newcastle's (pre-season friendly) game against Oldham."

Despite the rivalry between the two teams, Ms Fowler said she was not surprised by the flood of support.

"We in the North East are a very special kind of people. We may be divided by rivalry but it seems we are united in grief," she said.

Gary Ferguson, who created the fundraising site gofundme.com, wrote: "We may be Sunderland fans, who traditionally have deep rivalry with Newcastle, but there are things far more important than any football games.

"The incredibly sad news that has emerged this week about two Newcastle fans who have passed has left us all shocked and deeply saddened.

"Donating here will help pay for a floral tribute to those fans and to unity between the two clubs."

Mr Ferguson said the thousands of pounds left over would be donated to charity.

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