Fake fundraising page set-up after death of Simon Thomas' wife
PUBLISHED: 10:47 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 27 November 2017
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A bogus fundraising page and Twitter account have been set up to try to exploit the death of Gemma Thomas, the wife of Norfolk-raised TV presenter Simon Thomas.
The Sky Sports presenter tweeted, from his verified account, on Saturday after Mrs Thomas died just three days after falling ill with leukaemia.
He wrote: “Today I am crushed with indescribable pain. Just three days after falling ill with Acute Myloid Leukaemia, my dear wife Gemma passed away yesterday evening surrounded by her family and friends. If you are a prayer - pray for my boy Ethan. 8yrs, precious and in bits. Thank you.”
A fake Twitter account has since been set up in his name, with the same photo and information, and a link to a YouCaring page, asking people to give money in memory of Mrs Thomas.
The page has now been removed by YouCaring but before it was deleted at least five people had made donations with £75 raised. The Twitter account is still live and the user has created a number of fake YouCaring profiles in the past.
Condolence messages for Mr Thomas’s loss poured in on Twitter, including from football supporters across the country.
Mr Thomas, 44, who now lives in Reading, is a lifelong Norwich City fan, and Canaries supporters have been among those passing on words of comfort.
Norwich City FC tweeted: “Simon, the thoughts of everybody at Norwich City are with yourself, Ethan and everyone else who knew and loved Gemma at this sad time.”
EDP Norwich City columnists Melissa Rudd and Robin Sainty were among more thousands to pass on their condolences via Twitter.
Norwich Community Sports Foundation, for whom Mr Thomas has been a community ambassador, tweeted: “Simon, it is impossible for us to imagine how you and Ethan must be feeling, but please know that everyone at CSF is thinking of you and sending our love.”
Football clubs, including Burnley, Fulham and Wigan, tweeted their support, while Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, former West Ham player Carlton Cole, Bournemouth’s Marc Pugh and ex-Canary Anthony Pilkington, now at Cardiff City, offered condolences.
Mr Thomas was a Blue Peter presenter from 1999-2005, and worked alongside presenters Matt Baker, Konnie Huq, and Liz Barker.
Television colleagues, including Phillip Schofield, Andi Peters and Charlotte Coleman, also tweeted condolences.
Speaking to Mirror Online, he said his wife had felt ill last weekend and told to take tablets and rest. But she continued to feel unwell and, after taking her to hospital, she was diagnosed with leukaemia and taken to a specialist hospital in Oxford.
She started chemotherapy, but yesterday morning, Mr Thomas was given the devastating news that she had just hours to live. She died last night.
Mr Thomas, who thanked people for their condolences, said their son was able to have some time with his mother yesterday, but has asked for his mummy back for Christmas.
Mr and Mrs Thomas, 40, who used to work as a press officer for the Electoral Commission, were married at St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks in Kent in 2005.