A STAGGERING amount of money has been raised in a bid to bring back a North East man after he tragically drowned while in Spain.

A GoFundMe set up to support the family of 25-year-old Paul Lebihan hit five-figures just hours after being set up following his death on Monday.

The amateur boxer, who is from Gateshead, had been visiting the country to see his fiancee, who he had previously met on holiday around a year ago.

Read more: Tributes to Gateshead man Paul Lebihan after he drowns in Spain

He had got into difficulty in the Bolulla River near Benidorm after trying to save a dog who had also got into difficulties.

Paying tribute, his family described the events leading up to the tragedy as they said they had been left in a state of shock.

Mr Lebihan’s cousin Kallym Bell, 19, said he was “the happiest he’d ever been” after meeting his partner in Spain and travelling there regularly to visit her.

He said: “I called him to catch up and he was asking me to come over for a holiday there. I wish I had now.

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“He was the happiest I’d seen him. He didn’t feel like it could get any better for him.”

But as of Friday morning, almost £12,000 had been raised on the GoFundMe page which has been set up to support his family with repatriation and funeral costs.

More than 440 individual donations have been left as an outpouring of support has seen amounts of up to £1,000 handed over.

On the fundraiser, more messages of support have been added in the last few hours with the GoFundMe well on the way to its £15,000 target.

One comment reads: "I'm so sorry for your loss I hope this helps a little to get your boy home x."

People, from up and down the country, have been leaving their messages of support and handing over whatever they can.

One comment left said: "Sincere condolences from a Mother in North Wales."

The fundraising page was set up by Kallym Bell, who last night said: "We’re trying to stick together as much as we can and I started the GoFundMe page because I don’t want them to have the burden of raising that much money to bring him back.

“Even when they get him back they’ve got to pay for the funeral, which is very expensive as it is."

To view the GoFundMe page click here


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