The two charities that were expecting gifts totalling £300,000 from an anonymous donor after the death of the Channel swimmer Susan Taylor have said they believe the donations are a hoax.
Rainbows Hospice and Diabetes UK were informed by Virgin Money Giving on Tuesday that they were due to receive gifts of £150,000 each in memory of Taylor, who died on Sunday while attempting to swim the English Channel to raise funds the two charities.
But both charities have said today that they believe the promised donations were a hoax.
Paul Amadi, director of fundraising at Diabetes UK, said: "I can confirm that it now appears the pledge of £300,000 to us and Rainbows in Susan’s memory was not a genuine one. This is obviously extremely upsetting for Susan’s family at a time when they are still struggling to come to terms with their loss and we will do anything we can to support them."
Geoff Ellis, chief executive of Rainbows, said: "We are shocked that a person would carry out this appalling act at such a tragic and emotional time.
"Susan devoted her life to Rainbows and since her sad passing, kind-hearted people – many of whom did not know Susan – have honoured her memory by pledging generous donations to her online fundraising page.
"We have relayed the news to the family, who are devastated that someone would exploit this heart-breaking situation."
Donations to Rainbows through Virgin Money Giving since Taylor’s death have passed £60,000 and donations totalling more than £10,000 have been made to Diabetes UK in her memory.