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Thousands raised for night shelter after Cambridge student burned £20 in front of homeless man

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A video was released last week of Cambridge student Ronald Coyne burning £20 in front of a homeless man, and his fellow students have responded in force.

The homeless man, Ryan Davies, explained that he asked some passers-by if they had any spare change.

Coyne approached Davies and took out a £20 note, as if he were going to hand it to the man. “I couldn’t believe my luck” Davies said, “But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.

“It was absolutely disgusting. It was horrible. Just plain nasty”

Many people were outraged by the horrific news, and a change.org petition calling for Coyne's expulsion from the University has gained 23,000 signatures.

But after the initial furore, people began to respond to the incident by supporting local homeless people.  

A JustGiving page set up hours after the news broke has so far raised £4,500 for Jimmy's night shelter.

Organiser Matt Turner said: "We've managed to turn contempt into love - and hopefully made a positive out of the really horrible news that we all saw yesterday."

Another page has gained £3,200 for the same charity, which has also recieved more than £100 in individual JustGiving donations which mention the money-burning incident. 

Jimmy's shelter released a statment regarding the incident, saying that "£20 would have provided up to 20 meals for Jimmy's guests on any given day. Tangible support for those who need it most."

A Cambridge PhD researcher has set up a Facebook group called "Cambridge students give to the homeless", encouraging students to give £20 to a homeless person. 

More than 300 students have registered interest in another Facebook event to give people on the streets hot food and drinks as well as company this Thursday, called "Let's love Cambridge's homeless".

"We thought it would be an amazing opportunity to respond to the anger and hurt with some love" the event description says.

To donate, volunteer or find out more about Jimmy's Cambridge visit www.jimmyscambridge.net.

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