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The man behind a fundraiser that has received more than £25,000 in donations for a German girl pictured crying at Wembley says he has still not managed to track down her family.
Joel Hughes initially set up the campaign to raise £500 for the girl who went viral after she was shown on TV crying during Germany’s 2-0 loss to England on Tuesday, June 29.
After some fans on social media started targeting the girl with xenophobic abuse, Hughes said he’d decided to try and raise the money ‘as a token of goodwill’ to show her and her family that ‘not everyone from the UK is horrible’.
Despite smashing past the initial target and making headlines both in the UK and Germany, Hughes says he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to track down the family to give them the money. In an update posted to the Just Giving page yesterday, July 2, he said he had some ‘strong leads’ and was in contact with German journalists, but it appears that they’ve still not been found.
Earlier today, July 3, Hughes pleaded with the girl’s parents to come forward, saying:
To the family of the little girl. I can *completely* understand if you do not want to get in touch, given the publicity. All I can say is this: if you can make contact with a trusted org that can mediate on your behalf, we can have a private dialogue as to your wishes.
Hughes had previously promised to return the money to those who donated if the family are not found, but has since said he’ll donate any unused funds to charity.
While his fundraiser has been met with a huge wave of support, Hughes has also become the target of abuse himself, describing himself as ‘a lightning rod for pr**ks’.
‘Fair dos, the fundraiser is *really* winding up some people!’ he tweeted, adding, ‘Who knew trying to do a nice thing was so decisive?!’
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