A distraught young football fan who was widely mocked after being seen in tears after her team lost to England at Euro 2020 has refused to accept £36,000 which was raised to get her "a nice treat".
Joel Hughes, 51, raised more than £36,000 on a JustGiving page for the little girl who was seen crying on TV and on the big screen at Wembley when Germany were knocked out of Euro 2020 by England after their 2-0 loss at Wembley.
Mr Hughes originally set out to raise just £500 for the young fan's parents to "spend this on a nice treat for her so that she knows that not everyone from the UK is horrible".
Footage shows the girl, clad in a German kit, sobbing as she hugs a relative while Germany's Thomas Muller is replaced after failing to score.
But after she was shown during the live coverage of the match, a number of fans jeered the images while others posted sick messages on social media revelling in her tears.
Former footballer Stan Collymore shared screengrabs showing how some people on Twitter had trolled the girl while referencing her nationality and Germany's Nazi past, Sky News reports.
People from all over the world contributed to the cause and the target has since been smashed beyond anyone's expectation as £36,000 have been raised thanks to the donations of more than 3,200 people.
The girl's family has now been tracked down and in an update on the JustGiving page they have thanked well-wishers for the "amazing support".
But they said their daughter's wish would be for the funds to go to UNICEF.
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A statement reads: "In the interests of our daughter and our family we would like to remain private however we wish to thank everyone for your amazing support.
"Our daughter would like to request your generous donations go to UNICEF, knowing that your kindness will do good."
Mr Hughes revealed this week that he has been abused online with fake profiles set up in his name while others have quoted his old tweets which are being taken out of context after setting up the fundraiser.
Some people have accused him online of being a scammer and a paedophile, while he has also been doxxed by trolls.
"The abuse is horrendous and it's targeting my family. They are posting my private details online," he said.
"I am getting so much abuse which is ironic seeing as I am raising money for a girl who is getting online abuse."
He added: "I am fairly resilient but I can imagine how this would be incredibly damaging to someone.
"It is frightening the lengths that these people will go to attack me.
"This isn't going to change the world but I want to do something nice for her."
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