SORROW united the friends of Ashley McKinnon on Saturday when they gathered in Swindon town centre to seek donations for a £1,500 bench in his memory.
Fifteen people donned bibs bearing his face and carried buckets through the shopping area as donations poured in for a young man whose tragedy the town has shared in.
If the money is raised, the bench will be placed in Queen’s Park, where Ashley and his friends liked to spend time together, along with a message on a plaque dedicated to him.
The chances of former girlfriend Atlanta Holmes, 16, and her friends reaching the total are looking likely after their day of fundraising drew in £770.40, including a huge donation of £200 from Brunel Newsagents.
Ashley, 17, fell from the top of Wyvern Car Park shortly before 9.30pm on February 13. The incident was not treated as suspicious by Wiltshire Police.
Atlanta’s mother, Paula Holmes, of Manor Road, is helping her daughter and her friends with the attempt, and said the money raised was evidence of the public’s support for the idea.
“We were asking people if they had any spare change to go towards the bench for Ashley and the response was really good,” she said.
“This has come from the kids. They all used to spend time down at Queen’s Park and they felt the bench could become a place they all go to spend time with Ashley.
“I have been overwhelmed with the amount of effort that the kids have put in.
“We were out there from 10am on Saturday, and they’re chuffed with themselves, as they should be.”
Atlanta said: “There were so many people helping us out and so many people being generous. “This is something from all of us to Ashley.”
If anyone is interested in contributing to the fund, they should contact Paula via her e-mail address, which is: firstname.lastname@example.org