Organisers of a crowdfunding campaign to buy a car for an Indian family, whose vehicle was destroyed by arsonists have been ‘wowed’ after they exceeded their £5000 target in 24 hours.
Antrim mother Subi Philip, a cardiac nurse, had to flee her Meadow Drive home in the early hours of Friday after her car was set alight in what is being treated as a racially motivated hate crime.
Subi and her daughters, who have lived in the area for 10 years, escaped injury but the vehicle was completely destroyed.
At the time of the attack her husband, a nurse, was back in India attending his father’s funeral.
The campaign was the brainchild of three friends – Michael Wilkinson from Co Antrim now living in Vienna, his brother Tom Wilkinson, 22, and Johnny McCarthy, 26, from Lisburn – who were moved by the family’s plight after hearing it on the news.
Their online campaign to raise money was launched around 9pm on Friday.
Mr McCarthy said: “The money has been pledged at the moment so it is pre-authorised which means it has been offered through Paypal. It will only be released when the campaign is closed.
“Now the figure stands at £6,983 and has been pledged by 402 people which shows how good people are.
“We expected this campaign to go on until Christmas – but not gather pace to £6,000 in 24 hours.”
Mr McCarthy said the campaign had also been started to emphasise to the Antrim family that “the actions of the attackers do not represent the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland”.
He said he spoke to Subi on Saturday morning and said she was “still very distressed” but “very supportive of what we are doing”.
Mrs Philip told the News Letter that she and her family were considering going back to India.
“I am still very badly shaken. We are very scared to stay in the same house again. Everybody is supporting us really well, but we are staying with friends at the moment and I don’t know how long I can stay at someone else’s house,” she said.
Tom Wilkinson added: “We want the family to know the attack was carried out by a tiny minority of people in Northern Ireland. But there are a lot of people in Northern Ireland with compassion who still stand up for people who are abused like this.”