PEOPLE's generosity has overwhelmed a family fighting to secure the convictions of three Greek doctors they blame for their son's death.

The parents of Christopher Rochester, 24, of Chester-le-Street, who died in hospital on Rhodes after a balcony fall, need £2,000 to hire lawyers to fight the medics' appeals.

A weekend of fundraising looks to have taken them more than half-way to their total.

A street collection in Chester-le-Street on Saturday added £643.60 to the £180 collected on Friday outside the town's Lambton Arms pub, where Mr Rochester worked.

His friend, Debi Burrows, raised £250 during a five-hour sponsored silence and drinkers gave a further £105, taking the total to more than £1,100.

Mr Rochester's mother and stepfather, Pam and George Cummings, are confident of reaching their target in time.

"The support has given us the strength to fly to Rhodes, knowing so many people back home will be following every detail,'' said Mrs Cummings.

Mr Rochester died on holiday in 2000 because, his family say, he did not get the treatment he needed in hospital.

The doctors were convicted of manslaughter by negligence and jailed for three years, but the sentence has not been implemented pending their automatic appeal, on February 8.

A music night will be held tomorrow at The Osborne WMC, Chester-le-Street, at 7pm. Tickets costs £3, available at the door or call 0191-388 3769.

People can also donate to the Christopher Rochester Trust Fund at Lloyds TSB branches