A staggering £24,000 has been raised by a Leyland woman who spent 24 hours on the streets of Preston to repay a homeless man who offered her his last £3.
A “very cold but amazed” Dominique Harrison-Bentzen vowed to find enough money to help the man, known as ‘Robbie’, who came to her aid when she lost her bank card on a night out.
And after her story made the headlines around the world, the website set up to receive donations went into meltdown as money rolled in, reaching £24,436 and counting.
Speaking to the Guardian an hour before completing her 24 hour challenge, Dominique said she was “overwhelmed” with the response the story has received.
She said: “I have no idea how this has happened.
“We’re going to have to think carefully how this money can best be used now to help the homeless people in Preston and make sure that every penny counts.
“I want to donate the money wisely and across a number of charities so that it reaches the most people.”
Dominique and six others spent Tuesday night outside Preston’s Methodist Church on Lune Street as well as visiting a soup kitchen at St. Wilfrids Hall, Chapel Street where they donated food from nearby restaurants.
Dominique said: “We didn’t want to take food away from the soup kitchen that would be needed so we approached KFC, Subway and the Pound Bakery for food donations that we took with us.”
The Miss Preston 2015 contestant also raised more than £200 from wellwishers and passers-by on the night from a bucket collection which was used to help find three homeless people sheltered accommodation for the evening.
Dominique said: “It was nice to be able to get three people out of the cold and rain for the night but we need to look at how we can help in the longer term.
“The original aim was to make enough money to help Robbie get a deposit for a flat but now we’ve raised so much we’re going to help him and others in the city.
“It costs £1,500 to rehouse someone and keep them going for a month or so, now we just have to find the best way to go about it.”