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Student raises over £12K to repay kindness of homeless man who offered her £3 for a taxi home

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A student has raised over £12,500 to repay the kindness of a homeless man who offered to lend her £3 for a taxi home, in an impromptu Christmas campaign that has struck a chord with hundreds of well-wishers.

Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, 22, lost her bank card on a night out in Preston on December 4. 

A man she now knows as Robbie, who is sleeping rough in the city, wanted to give the University of Central Lancashire student £3 so that she could get home safely.

 "I suddenly realised that I had no money and a homeless man approached me with his only change of £3," she told the Lancashire Evening Post.

"He insisted I took it to pay for a taxi to make sure I got home safe."

Dominique's Just Giving page

Dominique's Just Giving page

Dominique didn't accept the money but she was so touched by Robbie's gesture that she set up a campaign to raise a deposit of £12,500 for a flat that would ensure he had somewhere safe and warm to live in.

"I ended up posting a status on Facebook to try and find him the next day and it turns out I'm not the only person he has helped," she said.

The student set up a Just Giving page and a Facebook campaign page, and appealed on Twitter for people to "donate £3 to help Robbie Preston get a deposit for a flat". 

Her plea was picked up by hundreds of people, including Stone Roses front man Ian Brown, who re-tweeted the request to his 67,000 followers.

A man sleeping rough in the UK

A man sleeping rough in the UK (stock image)

Dominique has already smashed her target but followed through on a pledge to spend 24 hours with Robbie on the streets of Preston yesterday, to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people everywhere.

"I simply can't just give him the money, I have to go through the right channels so I will be spending 24 hours through the day and night as a homeless person to understand the difficulties they face each day," she said.

"He has been homeless for seven months through no fault of his own and he can't get work due to having no address.

"It took me four nights of driving round Preston to find him and I was beginning to lose hope that I would see him again, to thank him personally for his kindness."


Facebook

A Facebook message from Dominique


"I hope my campaign will help people think a little more about the people around them, Christmas is a good time to think about other people," she added. "If people can see what I am doing then maybe they can take the time to just stop and talk to a homeless person, hear their story."

Click here to find out more about Dominique's campaign (please note; it closed at midnight last night). 

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