UK

How To Help London Terrorist Attack Victims' Families

The kindness of strangers has raised hundreds of thousands already.

23/03/2017 13:06 GMT | Updated 24/03/2017 07:16 GMT

An outpouring of public support has seen a number of fundraisers for the families of those killed in the Westminster attack receive tens of thousands of pounds.

A fundraiser for the family of the police officer killed in Wednesday’s terror attack on Westminster has already received almost £400,000, while a Muslim-led crowdfunder for all the victims’ families has received more than £17,000 in a matter of hours.

A message on the crowdfunding page for PC Keith Palmer’s family thanked the almost 20,000 donors for their contributions.

It said: “It is heart warming to see the messages that have been posted and those that have chosen not to post a message, the gift alone speaks a thousand words.”

Palmer, a 48-year-old husband and father who worked on the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Squad has been hailed a hero for his actions.

PA Wire/PA Images
PC Keith Palmer died in the attack on Wednesday

Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Theresa May said Palmer was “every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten”.

Conservative MP James Cleverly also paid tribute to Palmer, who he knew from when they both served in the Armed Forces.

Visibly emotional, he told MPs: “He was a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him here again only a few months after being elected.

“Would my right honourable friend the prime minister, in recognition of the work that he did and the other police officers and public servants here in the House do consider recognising his gallantry and sacrifice formally with a posthumous recognition?”

PA Wire/PA Images
Conservative MP James Cleverly pays an emotional tribute to his friend PC Keith Palmer

Theresa May said the idea would be “considered in due course” and thanked Cleverly for the “compassion” and “passion” he gave about his friend.

The family of Pc Keith Palmer, the officer killed in the Westminster attack, have described him as a “wonderful dad and husband, a loving son, brother and uncle”, adding that he was “dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous”.

Meanwhile, two teenagers today shared a selfie of the officer taken while he was on duty and stationed in front of Big Ben.

Will Robins/Tyler Chatterley-Russell

A-level students Will Robins and Tyler Chatterley-Russell, who are both 16, took the photograph last year.

The Hereford Sixth Form students told the London Evening Standard how PC Palmer suggested they pull faces in the photo. They said: “We were on a photography trip and we went to see Big Ben and we wanted a photo and he was in the background. We said, do you want to join in.

“The reason why we were pulling faces was because PC Keith said do you want to do a funny face. He suggested that.

“We had a chat, he was very being very professional but very nice to people. He seemed very up for a photo.

“It’s very tragic, it’s awful. To target someone who was unarmed.”

Speaking outside Scotland Yard on Wednesday night, acting deputy commissioner Mark Rowley, the Met’s senior anti-terror officer, also paid tribute to Palmer.

He said: “Today in Westminster we saw tragic events unfold and our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, those who were injured and all those affected by this attack.

“One of those who died today was a police officer, PC Keith Palmer, a member of our parliamentary and diplomatic protection command. Keith, aged 48, had 15 years’ service and was a husband and father.

Neil Hall / Reuters
Police officers salute during a minute's silence outside New Scotland Yard on Thursday morning

“He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift, and he had every right to expect that would happen.”

A Muslim-led crowdfunder to help support the families of all those killed has also received thousands in donations.

Muddassar Ahmed witnessed the attack and explained in the fundraising page’s description that he felt moved to do something to help.

On the crowdfunding page, he explained: “I was a witness to the attack, having entered Portcullis house less than 10 minutes from when it occurred. Barricaded in an office for nearly 4 hours while events unfolded outside me, I was shocked to see the injuries and loss of life outside my window.

“I reflected on what it means to be a born-and-bred Londoner and found myself proud of how security and medical services responded, how ordinary passers-by offered first aid, and what our Parliament means to me, an institution that is the oldest of its kind in the world and how, regardless of our critiques of government policies or political parties, remains an institution that reflects how the will of the people can be expressed with civility and dignity. 

“While details of the victims are still emerging, I have been in touch with networks within British Muslim communities and can assure you that we all stand with fellow Londoners during these difficult times and want to extend our support by raising funds to help with the immediate, short-term needs of the families of Keith Palmer, the other victims and their families.

“While no amount of money will bring back lives lost or take away from the pain the victims and their families are going through, we hope to lessen their burden in some way as citizens, Londoners, and human beings.”

The other victims of the attack have also been named.

Spanish teacher Aysha Frade is believed to have been on her way to pick up her two daughters from school when she was killed on Wednesday, the Sun reported.

The 43-year-old was a teacher at DLD College, near Westminster.

The college’s principal Rachel Borland described her as “a highly regarded and loved” member of staff.

The third victim has been named as an American tourist visiting the capital with his wife.

Kurt Cochran from Utah was on Westminster Bridge when the attacker drove a vehicle on the pavement.

At the time of writing, there did not appear to be a fundraiser specifically for any of the other victims’ families, but we will update this story if we become aware of any.