Published: 00:01, 30 October 2014
A community has rallied around to support the family of Donna Eastwood in the wake of her shocking death.
At the their lowest point, friends and family of the 26-year-old have come together to start a fund raising page on Facebook to support her children.
The body of the mother-of-four, of Almond Road, Stone, was found after firefighters were called to a car fire in Rowhill Road, Wilmington, at 6.20am on Saturday, October 18.
Police arrested Joshua Caird, 26, also Almond Road, the following day and charged him with her murder on Monday, October 20.
Ms Eastwood, left four children, three of who are now orphans after their father, Kevin McKinley, was shot dead last year.
The page, called Donna Eastwood Remembrance and Donation, was set up by Ms Eastwood’s friends Kirsty Cook, Leanne Perry, Lauren Britten and Janine Stewart.
So far, more than £3,000 has been raised – £1,240 of which came from donations at a lantern and balloon release for Ms Eastwood, at Stone Recreation Ground on Friday night.
“This is for Donna, and the Facebook group is for the children. This is a chance for her friends and family to come and see her on her way and remember her” - Janine Stewart
Speaking at the event Ms Stewart, 51, said the group was touched by how much support the cause had received.
She said: “We’re overwhelmed by how many people have come here tonight. We didn’t really know what to expect. The amount of support we’ve had from Facebook has been great.”
At the tribute, close to 100 people held a minute’s silence, played songs, wore remembrance T-shirts, lit candles and shouted out messages to Ms Eastwood.
Ms Stewart said: “This is for Donna, and the Facebook group is for the children.
“This is a chance for her friends and family to come and see her on her way and remember her.”
Donations have been coming in through the group’s PayPal account, but toys, clothes and other items have also been given.
The group has had to ask people to stop sending in clothes as they have too many to sort.
Ms Stewart said: “It’s not just people from around this way [that have been donating]. We’ve had people from Sydenham, Welling, loads of people from far away.
“I think the Facebook page has gone to more than 3,000 likes.”
The page stands as a fitting memorial to Ms Eastwood, showing pictures of her, together with her friends, and recent fundraising events.
In further tribute, Lauren, Kirsty and Leanne have had their arms tattooed with lyrics from one of Donna’s favourite songs, covered by Dolly Parton, Those Were The Days.
The words: “Those were the days my friend / We thought they’d never end / We’d sing and dance forever,” stand as a poignant reminder of their friendship. Ms Stewart said people in the area and all who knew Donna had been left utterly bereft.
She said: “My daughter and Kirsty were very close to Donna. They’re absolutely devastated.
“The family are just overwhelmed with the support there has been for the kids.
“It’s brought everyone closer together, everyone wants to help.”
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