Briton launches crowdfunding bid to bail out Greece
A British shoe-shop employee has raised over 65,000 euros ($72,000) so far through an online crowdfunding project to help Greece meet its International Monetary Fund debt repayment due on Tuesday.
A day after its launch, more than 4,500 people had donated to the IndieGoGo project "Greek Bailout Fund" but it was still quite a way from the final target of the 1.5 billion euros needed to make the payment.
"All this dithering over Greece is getting boring," said 29-year-old Thom Feeney, the page's creator.
"Why don't we the people just sort it instead? The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy.
"I can understand why people might take it as a joke, but crowdfunding can really help," added Feeney. "I just thought, sod it, I'll have a crack."
The creator told AFP that he had no personal links to Greece, and it was "more of a campaign to help the Greek people being affected by austerity measures."
He has since received "hundreds, if not thousands of goodwill messages from across Europe" and had Facebook friend requests "from about 30 different Greek women when I woke up this morning!"
Surprisingly, the bulk of donations in the first 24 hours came from Britain and Germany, two countries who have taken a hard official line on Greece's debt repayments.
Should the project be successful, donors will receive perks ranging from a postcard of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a feta and olive salad or a Greek holiday for two, depending on the size of the contribution.
Initially, there was a small Greek island on offer for anyone who came in with the full total, but IndieGoGo asked Feeney, who works in central London, to remove the offer as the Greek government had not agreed to it.
"A Greek lady emailed to say that she found that perk offensive, which I apologised profusely for, I certainly didn't mean any offence," he explained on the page.
With publicity increasing around the project, the tally was increasing at around 5,000 euros per hour. That was, however, still some way short of the 9.5 million euros per hour required to hit the target on time.
Feeney, from York in northern England, promises to refund donations should the target not be reached within seven days.
© 2015 AFP