GRIEVING friends of tragic piper Craig Hepburn have thanked wellwishers after raising almost £8,000 in his memory.
The popular teen, right, died after being stabbed while visiting relatives in Marsden, West Yorkshire, on Saturday, July 7.
A fund set up to help pay funeral costs for the Linwood lad is now set to exceed £8,000, following a outburst of public support from friends and strangers alike.
A fundraising march last Saturday – organised by Craig’s friends Darren Owens and Rachel Donnelly – helped raise cash as well as a Go Fund Me page online.
Rachel told the Paisley Daily Express: “We’ve still got a lot of sponsor forms to collect and we have a lot of buckets still in the shops.
“But with the online donations and the money we’ve been given so far, we’ve got over £5,000.
“Darren is giving it another couple of weeks to let people collect it all.
“It’s brilliant. Everyone has really pulled together. Local businesses donated juice and crisps for everyone taking part in the walk, and it was all set up for us on tables when we got back to Linwood.”
The cash being raised will help Craig’s devastated family – parents Caroline and Alex and younger brother Andrew – pay for his funeral.
On top of the £5,000 raised so far by the Linwood community, a further £2,000 has been collected by people in Marsden.
This has come via an online fundraising site set up by registered charity Marsden Community Association, which says: “This page has been set up by the residents of Marsden to raise funds in memory of Craig Hepburn who was tragically killed in the village.
“Any and all donations will be passed on to a cause or causes of his family’s choosing.”
Craig – known as Heppy – played with Milngavie Pipe Band and another £600 has been raised for the fund after a member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers auctioned a framed bag cover.
Willie Armstrong auctioned the cover, which was used during the filming of the band’s live DVD Blast in 2008, via Facebook through fellow piper Craig Lawrie.
It went for £525 to Mark Hartshone, who generously upped the total to £600.
Craig, a friend of Heppy’s, said: “The bag is probably worth about £50 and we thought we might get £150 for it. But the bids kept going up and up.
“It’s a fantastic amount to raise. I spoke to Craig’s parents and they’re really touched. What we’ve done means a lot to them.”
The Go Fund Me site features tributes and donations from people both north and south of the border.
One tribute from Lynda Mackin says: “Absolutely gutted. Only seen Craig a few month ago at his step-gran’s funeral. His whole family are very close family friends. Rest in peace.”
Michaela Phillips commented: “Our heart goes out to all that new Craig. I’m from Marsden and was horrified to hear the sad news that weekend.
“I’ll also be donating in Marsden as the villagers are trying their best to raise money too. Rest in peace Craig.”
To make a donation via Go Fund Me, go online to www.go fundme.com and search for Craig Hepburn’s Sponsored Walk.
If you would like to donate to the Marsden fund go online to https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/ marsdencommunityassociation#. UAEhT_1v42G.facebook
TWO men accused of murdering Craig appeared before a judge at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday.
Anthony David Driver and Luke Aaron Elliott are accused of killing 19-year-old Craig on July 7.
Prosecution counsel told the court that results of forensic work would not be available until September.
Driver, 36, and 21-year-old Elliott, are expected to submit a plea on October 5, with a provisional trial date set for December 3.