HUNDREDS of well-wishers have donated more than £10,000 to a fundraiser set up to support the young daughter of a Christchurch firefighter following his sudden death over Easter.
Simon Kaye (53), who had worked for the fire service for over 30 years, collapsed while on duty at the town’s station on the morning of Monday 13th April.
As reported in the A&T, Mr Kaye was rushed to Royal Bournemouth Hospital, but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and he died later that day. His death was not believed to have been linked to coronavirus.
Last Thursday crew from Westbourne fire station, where he had spent 14 of his 31 years firefighting, launched a benevolent fund for his family. A post on the station’s Facebook page described him as “a much-loved friend to all and well-respected firefighter”.
Aiming to raise £15,000, the online crowdfunding scheme was set up to provide financial security for Mr Kaye’s 18-month-old daughter Delilah.
The write-up on the Just Giving page said: “This fund will provide Delilah with some financial support through her childhood years and help maintain a safe, nurturing and loving environment that Simon would have wished for.”
Donations from hundreds of supporters, including family, friends, colleagues, members of other fire services and even people who did not know Mr Kaye, helped raise more than £10,000 by this afternoon (Tuesday).
Among these was a £1,000 pledge which apparently came from Hollywood actor Hugh Grant. This prompted Westbourne’s crew to post on Twitter, tagging the Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually star’s handle.
“Dear @HackedOffHugh, if that was really you who donated to recently passed firefighter Simon Kaye’s Just Giving page, then all of us who served with him are extremely grateful for your contribution,” the tweet said.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) also tweeted last Friday to thank all those who had already sent through their pledges, calling the “overwhelming” response in such a short time “incredible”.
Many of those who pledged donations to the site added their tributes and memories of Mr Kaye and also passed on their sympathies and best wishes to his family.
One supporter’s post said: “You leave a huge gap but a load of brilliant memories in all of our lives, Sime, and our thoughts are with Michelle, Delilah, Georgia and Josh who you always thought so much of and about.”
Former colleague Rob Williams wrote: “Simon was a super bloke and great fun to be with.
“He really helped and supported me when I worked with him a few years back. His passing is a loss to us all and my thoughts go out to his family.”
Many tributes have been paid to the popular firefighter since his death, with flowers left outside his Christchurch base and flags flown at half-mast at stations and workplaces across the DWFRS region.
A minute’s silence was also held in his honour by fire service personnel throughout the country at 11am last Monday.
Donations to the benevolent fund can be made by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/delilah-kaye