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Fundraiser for crying German girl smashes target by topping £26k
3 July 2021, 00:31 | Updated: 3 July 2021, 16:37
A fundraiser set up for a young girl who was left in tears after Germany lost to England in the Euros has smashed its target by more than £26,000.
The image of the child crying was greeted with cheers by some England fans after it was projected onto the big screens inside Wembley Stadium during Tuesday's historic round of 16 match.
It was also displayed on TV screens across the nation, prompting a small pocket of supporters to post abusive messages about the little girl on social media.
Former Premier League footballer Stan Collymore shared screenshots of some of the sickening abuse directed at the kid, along with the caption: "No words necessary."
Ex-England star and pundit Gary Lineker responded, saying: "Absolutely disgusting. Sickening xenophobia."
Absolutely disgusting. Sickening xenophobia.— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) June 30, 2021
After seeing some of the vile posts about the child, one football fan based in Newport, south Wales, decided to create a JustGiving page "to show this little German supporter that not everyone in the UK is horrible".
Joel Hughes, from Caerleon, set a humble target of £500 to raise for the girl, whose identity is not currently known, but he said he has since been "blown away" by people's support.
The current total stands at an impressive £26,000 raised from more than 2,200 donors.
Mr Hughes, who runs a web design company, said he was going to spend "a couple of days trying to track down her parents" but acknowledged doing so could be difficult, and that her mother and father "may not want to be found".
Fans react as England knocks Germany out of the Euros
He told those who had offered their cash that they will either get a refund or he will try and get the money sent to a similar cause.
On Friday, he gave the supporters an update, which read: "Morning all, again, thanks for the awesome support! I've not contacted the parents yet but have had some strong leads and am in connection with some German journalists.
"I'm going to come up with a cut off date after which this campaign will end. Then, if I'm in contact with the family, they shall get all the funds. If not, all funds will go to a suitable charity.
"I would prefer the former but hey ho - having some good come out of this is the main point."
When setting up the page, the 51-year-old said the gesture was only meant to be a "token of goodwill" and that he hoped the girl's parents "will spend this on a nice treat for her so that she knows that not everyone from the UK is horrible and that we care".