More than £3,600 has been raised in 24 hours for the family of a student nurse killed in a house fire potentially started by a Christmas tree.
Natalie Merry, 18, died after the blaze ripped through her terraced home in Ayr on Sunday.
Her mother Jennifer, 49, and boyfriend Alistair Innes, 22, were hospitalised, but survived the incident that occurred about 8:20pm.
Investigators are exploring the theory the blaze was sparked after one of two family cats jumped onto a Christmas tree in the home, causing it to topple onto a candle.
A crowdfunder was launched online yesterday with a goal of raising just £200.
By 4.30pm today, a total of £3,612 had been donated to help support Ms Merry’s family.
Posted by Ayrshire resident Pauline Brady, a statement to accompany the crowdfunder said: “Natalie was only 18 and a student nurse starting out in her training with the world at her feet.
“The nursing students at UWS in Ayr would like to raise some funds to support Natalie’s family at this awful time.
“Although no amount of money can bring Natalie back, we are hoping that some of the financial burden can be lifted after the family have experienced such a huge loss.
“Please donate what you can and spare a thought for Natalie’s family and friends today.”
The statement continued: “I, Pauline Brady from Ayrshire, have set this funding page up on behalf of the student nurse community at UWS Ayr as we want to support Natalie’s family in the best way we can.
“The funds will be given directly to Natalie’s family to be used how they feel is best at this difficult time.
“Whether the funds are used for Natalie’s funeral or to help her family rebuild their lives, all the money will be given directly to them via go fund me.”
Donater John Campbell posted: “Such a heartbreaking tragedy. My love and prayers with you all today and every day x.”
Another person, Jamie, posted on the Go Fund Me page said: “I never knew Natalie, but her mum Jennifer is a friend and colleague of mine and is one of the nicest and most compassionate people you could meet.
“You could tell that she was so proud of Natalie whenever she spoke about her. This is a heartbreaking tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with Jennifer, her family and everyone who knew Natalie. Rest in peace.”
Natalie was a student nurse at the University of the West of Scotland and worked part-time in a care home in Ayr.
She was pronounced dead at the scene after the alarm was raised at the two storey home in the town’s York Street.