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Coach driver donates £1,000 to aid Molly McLaren fund

By Amy Nickalls

A coach driver has donated half his monthly wage in memory of tragic student Molly McLaren.

The 23-year-old died in June when she was stabbed in the car park of Chatham’s Dockside Outlet Centre.

Her family and friends have since set up a foundation in her name – aimed at raising cash for charities supporting people with eating disorders.

Molly McLaren
Molly McLaren

The University of Kent student, who lived in Cobham, had suffered with the illness herself.

She was also a former pupil at Mayfield Grammar School, Gravesend, and North Kent College, Dartford.

Nottinghamshire resident Gary Westwell has donated £1,000 to an upcoming event which will be raising cash for the foundation.

The 33-year-old said: “I’ve been following what’s been going on and I’ve sat back and thought this is something no one should have to go through.

"The more I think about it, the more I think something has to be done.

“My eating habits are far from impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had an eating disorder, but I’m not brave like Molly who went and got things investigated.”

Mr Westwell was visiting his mother in Gillingham when Molly died on June 29.

Gary Westwell
Gary Westwell

He said: “It was only a few miles from my mum’s house so it feels like it was right on the doorstep.

“There’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on, but I feel like I need to do something.

“She was so young, but from what I’ve seen online she was a real inspiration.”

A JustGiving Page was set up after her death and has reached £15,000.

Molly’s family and friends are in the process of registering the foundation with HMRC so they can continue to raise money and awareness.

Mr Westwell added: “I’m trying to save for a house as I live in rented accommodation at the moment but this is more important. I just wish I could give more.”

The Molly McLaren Foundation has been set up by friends of the tragic student
The Molly McLaren Foundation has been set up by friends of the tragic student

Amy Lee is one of the trustees of the foundation and was one of Molly’s closest friends.

She said: “The university has confirmed it has received a donation from a single individual for the value of £1,000 in support of the Medway Moves for Molly event that they are hosting this month.

“The foundation are overwhelmed with the amount of support being given by the public, in not only donations but in helping to raise awareness.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has contributed to the foundation so far.

“We are confident that we will be able to achieve our initial target very soon.”

  • Joshua Stimpson, 26, of High Street, Wouldham, has been charged with the student’s murder. He is due to enter a plea at Maidstone Crown Court on December 1.

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