Burnley fund-raiser to meet Tunisian massacre hero

Mathew James is continuing his recovery, pictured with his fianc�e Saera Wilson. (S)

Mathew James is continuing his recovery, pictured with his fianc�e Saera Wilson. (S)

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A Burnley man fund-raising for a fellow gas engineer shot multiple times in the Tunisia terror attack is hoping to meet him later in the month.

Ian Spedding, of Ebor Street, is part of a team of online fund-raisers generating money for Mathew James of South Wales who was shot several times while shielding his girlfriend Saera Wilson from the gunman in June’s atrocity.

Mr Spedding, who has been invited to the couple’s wedding, says he has been “overwhelmed” by the response from people, with money and messages coming from far and wide, taking the total raised to more than £15,000 in a week.

Mr Spedding said: “I’m hoping to go and meet Mathew later in July with others. Mathew is improving all the time so it’s great news. The plan is to have a private meeting and to maybe have a drink if he’s feeling up to it. I am so looking forward to it.

“The response has just been amazing, the public have been superb. I’ve been overwhelmed by it. We’ve had some fantastic messages of support from all over the world.

“In particular we’ve had some lovely messages from Tunisian people. The sorrow they are feeling is not just because they are going to lose tourism because of this, it’s the fact they are genuinely really concerned. People can blame Muslims or Islam for this attack but this has nothing to do with the religion.”

Ian Spedding. (S)

Ian Spedding. (S)

Mr Spedding has become media co-ordinator for the fund which is growing continuously alongside the Facebook group set up by fellow gas engineers which now has in excess of 3,500 members.

Mr Spedding said: “I don’t mind being the public front, others have chosen to help in another way. We’ve got one guy from Northamptonshire going to do a central heating job for Mathew for free.

“I had two guys here the other day filming from RTL, a German TV channel. It’s gone out to about three million people on their equivalent of the BBC’s One Show. That was a bit weird to be honest.

“But the more we can get the better. Mathew is self-employed and is going to be out of action for a while. That’s who the fund was set up for and it’s a bit of a leaning post for them while he recovers.”

People can blame Muslims or Islam for this attack but this has nothing to do with the religion

Ian Spedding