UK
04/02/2016 12:57 GMT | Updated 04/02/2016 12:59 GMT

Archers Characters Spur More Than £10,000 In JustGiving Donations To Domestic Violence Charity Refuge

A donations page setup on behalf of a fictional character from the world's longest-running radio soap opera has raised over £11,000 for a domestic violence charity.

Archers fan Paul Trueman set up the JustGiving page in aid of Refuge after being moved by a powerful storyline played out on the BBC soap, which documents the abuse of Helen Titchener by controlling husband Rob.

The donations feed, entitled 'The Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund', provokes listeners into imagining they are contributing to help Helen, a much-loved character on the BBC Radio 4 show whose struggle to break free from her husband's clasp has drawn sympathy from listeners.

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Actors Timothy Watson (Rob) and Louiza Patikas (Helen)

Trueman said he was urged into doing "something constructive" for victims of domestic violence because of the plot.

"Time to do something constructive and think of all the women who are genuinely stuck in relationships like this - and much, much worse," he urged donors.

Suggestions in the drama that marital rape takes place off-air led to an outpouring of anguish on social media.

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"If over the last year or two you've sworn at the radio, tweeted in outrage, taken the name 'Robert' in vain, or posted your disgust at the worsening situation in Blossom Hill Cottage [the couple's house], then now's your chance to do something constructive about it."

"Joking apart," Trueman added, "all the money from the Rescue Fund will go to the brilliant Refuge, helping all those women who don't have a mate like Kirsty [Helen's confidante] and their own organic cheese shop waiting for them at the end of it."

Comments from donors commended the initiative. One £10 contributor wrote: "For all the Helens out there, female and male."

"This is the best possible way for listeners to response to the harrowing situations Helen and many real women find themselves in," said another.