People's generosity has overwhelmed the family fighting to secure the convictions of Greek doctors for their son's death.

The parents of Christopher Rochester, 24. of Chester-le-Street, County Durham, who died in hospital on Rhodes after a balcony fall, need to raise £2,000 by Saturday February 5 so they can hire lawyers to fight the medics' appeals.

And a weekend of fund-raising looks to have taken them more than half-way to their total.

A street collection in Chester-le-Street's Front Street on Saturday brought in £643.60 to add to the £180 collected on Friday outside the Lambton Arms pub, where Christopher was a barman, during the five-hour sponsored silence by friend Debi Burrows, who gathered pledges totalling £250 for her effort.

On Friday evening drinkers at the pub gave a further £105, taking the potential total to more than £1,100.

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

"We are totally overwhelmed, not just by people's generosity and the contributions to the fund, but by the support they have given us,'' said Mr Cummings.

"People have been following the story and know all the details.

"We are confident we will raise the money for our legal costs and that takes a great deal of pressure off the family and trust members.

"People's support has bolstered us and given us the strength to fly out to Rhodes knowing so many people back home will be following every detail.''

The tragedy happened while Christopher was on holiday in 2000, because his family say, he did not get the treatment he needed in hospital.

The three doctors were convicted of manslaughter by negligence and jailed for three years but the sentence has not be implemented pending their automatic appeal, which is due to start on Tuesday February 8.

The family fear that the convictions could be overturned if they do not have lawyers to argue their case.

A music night will be held tomorrow (wed) at The Osborne WMC, Osborne Road, Chester-le-Street, at 7pm, to raise money for their appeal. Tickets costs £3, available from the bar, on the door, or by calling 0191-388 3769.

People can also donate to the Christopher Rochester Trust Fund at any Lloyds TSB branch.