A man who raised money for the ‘homeless hero’ of the the Manchester Arena bombing has said he wishes he hadn’t following accusations of fraud and apathy.
25-year-old Michael Johns from Nottingham felt compelled to help Chris Parker who rescued victims of the arena suicide bombing at the end of the Ariana Grande concert on May 22, the BBC reports.
Johns managed to raise £52,000 for Parker using a GoFundMe page, far exceeding his original goal of £1,000, and at the time he hoped the campaign would help get Chris off the streets and also show gratitude for his bravery.
But despite his success Johns has wished multiple times since the bombing that he didn’t start fundraising as he’s faced accusations of trying to gain financially from the situation, not doing enough and abusive messages ever since.
It has gone from being a fairly straightforward case of just handing over a relatively small amount to having an amount that is potentially life-changing.
Initially Michael struggled to find Chris but the situation wasn’t helped when a woman posted on social media that Chris hadn’t received his money yet.
The post went viral causing many donors to demand a refund, not understanding that Michael was trying to get in touch with Chris.
When he finally did meet up with Chris, Michael realised he’s a vulnerable person, so he put a plan in place for the money to go into a trust with five trustees to help him deal with this life changing sum of money.
Michael explained that Chris has had a lot to deal with in a short amount of time, including dealing with a terror attack, reuniting with his mother and the intense press coverage but despite offers of support Chris ‘is actively not engaging with that support’.
Whilst this is the case, the process will be slow and there are likely to be other Facebook posts that do not bother to grasp the complexities of the situation.
I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place but I’m trying my hardest to plough on with this in the correct direction.
Let’s hope people will realise that Michael is doing everything possible to help Chris.