Fundraiser in memory of alumna Esther Dingley raises £9,235 for sight-restoration charity

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A fundraiser held in memory of Durham University alumna Esther Dingley, who died while trekking in the Pyrenees in November 2020, has raised £9,165 for Sightsavers.

Sightsavers, a charity working to cure preventable blindness, will be able to use the sum to fund specialist sight-restoration treatments for 300 adults or 100 children.

Ms Dingley went missing in the Pyrenees in November 2020 while hiking solo, prompting extensive searches by both French and Spanish police. Her remains and belongings were found in July 2021 by her partner, Dan Colegate and investigators now believe her death to have been the result of an accidental fall.

Sharing the beauty of the world was another of Esther’s passions

Dan Colegate

Following the discovery of Esther’s remains, Colegate launched the fundraiser for Sightsavers, a “charity close to Esther’s heart” with the aim of raising £5,000.

The fundraiser has received 333 individual donations so far. Colegate thanked contributors in a statement on Facebook, writing “the response to Esther’s fundraiser has been deeply touching”.

“Sharing the beauty of the world was another of Esther’s passions”, Colegate stated. “That anybody should be unable to see this amazing universe we inhabit, for entirely preventable reasons, hurt her deeply.”

Dingley graduated from Durham University with an MSc in Research Methodology in 2009. She lived in Durham with Mr. Colegate for a number of years before the pair set out to travel Europe together in a campervan in 2014, blogging about their experiences on estheranddan.com.

Her ashes will be spread in the places “closest to her heart” following a small private cremation close to the Pyrenees, Colegate has stated.

Image: Daily Mirror

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