Coronavirus: Sussex Spider-Man vows to 'keep spreading cheer'

A SUPERHERO fundraiser devastated when Facebook deleted his page has vowed to "rise from the ashes" and raise more money for the NHS. Cooksbridge resident Alan Harwood has been visiting children across Sussex dressed as Spider-Man to raise money for health workers since the coronavirus pandemic deprived his maintenance business of work. But after raising GBP3,000 on Facebook the social media website took down his page after a Peacehaven resident shared pictures appearing to show onlookers gathering around his webslinger-inspired lorry.

"I was absolutely devastated when they took the fundraiser down," the 52-year-old said. "I'd arranged to visit some families but there were a few people walking around doing their daily walks and their kids said 'Look it's Spider-Man' so more people gathered. "I said to everybody 'Please social distance and stand two metres apart' and everybody did.

"Then someone took pictures at the wrong angle and made it look bad. Alan said this image shared on Facebook was 'taken at a bad angle' and left him devastated "When I heard they took the fundraiser down I had to pull the lorry over in a lay-by for two hours and get myself together.

"I didn't want to look at what people were saying about me on Facebook. I kept out of it. "But I'm going to rise from the ashes."

The GBP3,000 Alan raised on Facebook will be refunded to donors. But he has already collected more than GBP800 on a new Gofundme page he set up yesterday. Alan has vowed to continue spreading cheer across Sussex "safely".

"Everything has been 98 per cent positive, I've got hundreds of families behind me," he said. "I'm getting loads of lovely messages and children are sending me drawings and pictures of them with Spider-Man. It's amazing.

"I spent thousands getting the cherry picker ready with Spider-Man art. I want to share the love and make people's days. "My business has been devastated, there's no work, so I'm doing this full time.

"I don't take any of the money, it all goes to the NHS." Alan spent thousands on souping up his cherry picker with Spider-Man decals Alan said he came up with the Spider-Man idea after finishing an aerial installation on a high rise in Brighton.

"I asked the contractor if I could put on my Spider-Man suit for the families," he said. "He twisted his head and said 'really?'. "Then he went: 'Go for it'.

I ended up staying there for an hour, the cheering and clapping from everybody was amazing." To donate to Alan's NHS fundraiser visit gofundme.com/f/alans-amazing-spiderman-truck-and-spiderman.

  • Local newspapers across Newsquest are joining forces to raise money for workers at the frontline of the healthcare crisis. Please donate whatever you can, and let us give a collective, united message to our NHS workers of our huge appreciation for their efforts.

    You can get involved and support our campaign by sharing our appeal and telling us why you are thankful for the NHS #ThankYouNHS on social media using the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-our-nhs-guardian-angels.

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