A teen’s altruistic efforts to support a fellow football fan who is critically ill have raised more than £22,000.
Nick Cruwys, 44, of Hemel Hempstead, is still critical but stable in hospital after he was seriously injured in a brutal attack by a gang following his team Watford’s 2-2 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at their Molineux Stadium homeground on Saturday.
Wolves supporter Ollie Floyd, who is just 16 and also from Hemel Hempstead, wanted to help Nick attend future football matches in the hope he fully recovers, so set up an online fund which has skyrocketed.
The Berkhamsted School pupil said he wanted to change the negative perception of football supporters as violent, and believes it is the minority of fans who give the sport a bad reputation.
His plea was quickly shared by thousands including celebrity sportsmen Michael Owen, Robbie Savage and pundit Jake Humphrey, and broke the £20,0000 barrier less than 48 hours after being set up.
Ollie said: “I honestly cannot thank everybody enough for the truly incredible support that Nick’s cause has received. Having spoken to members of his close family, they are taken aback by this campaign and can’t thank people enough for their generosity.
“Over the coming days, we must all pray for Nick and his family that he can pull through, as the coming days are going to be crucial.”
Ollie’s page now also contains an update from Nick’s brother, Chris, who told the do-gooder: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all of the kind words, prayers, support and concerns that have been sent through Facebook for my brother.
“Thank you everyone, it’s truly overwhelming.
“Nic is critically ill and fighting for his life, we are taking positivity from every hour that passes without deterioration.
We all hope that Nic has the strength to battle through this and when he awakens that he has retained all or at least some of the personality that makes him Nic.Victim’s brother Chris
“We all hope that Nic has the strength to battle through this and when he awakens that he has retained all or at least some of the personality that makes him Nic, a husband, a dad, a son, a brother and an uncle or simply Moo. Thank you again everyone, your support is appreciated.”
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has condemned the attack, and congratulated Ollie on his campaign.
He said: “From what was a really evil act, some positive community spirit has shone through.
“What happened to Nick is ever so sad. Everyone knows I am a mad Spurs supporter and sporting fan, and I think you should be able to go to a football match in the 21st century without fearing something like this happening. It’s always the minority spoiling it for the majority.
“Ollie is a young person doing a fantastic thing and he should be praised.”
West Midlands police continue to investigate the sickening attack, which took place on Littles Lane, near Wolverhampton city centre, at around 5pm on Saturday and left Nic with serious head injuries.
CCTV is being searched and witness statements taken to identify the culprits, who ‘vastly outnumbered’ Nick and his friends.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.