THE Scots student who caused outrage by burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man has unintentionally become a force for good.
The actions of Cambridge undergraduate Ronald Coyne have inspired charitable donations of £9,000 – and rising – in the university city.
Ronald, 18, from Livingston, West Lothian, taunted a rough sleeper by deliberately destroying the banknote.
But since the incident, two JustGiving pages have been set up to raise money for Jimmy’s Night Shelter in Cambridge, to which £9,000 has been donated already.
Matt Turner, who started one of the JustGiving pages, said that he set off the campaign to bring some good out of Mr Coyne’s “wicked and despicable act.”
Users on both pages expressed contempt for Mr Coyne, with one donater calling him an “absolute b******” and another labelling him a “privileged prat”.
The money raised could provide around 9,000 meals for those staying at the shelter.
The page created by Matt Turner has raised £4,620 to date, plus £900 in gift aided cash.
Set up last week, its description reads: “Only a few hours ago, the horrible news was broken that a Conservative student at Cambridge University filmed himself burning a £20 note in front of a homeless person on the street of Cambridge screaming “some homeless shelter” and documenting the incident on Snapchat.
“We all feel that some good should come out of this wicked and despicable act.
“The more we give to this brilliant cause – the clearer we make it that this kind of behaviour will be countered with acts of kindness that will always outweigh it a hundred times over.”
Donaters on the page have slammed Ronald Coyne for his actions.
Julian Morrison, who donated £10, said: “Coyne’s utter contempt and inhumanity is turned into a positive.”
Another user, who donated anonymously, wrote: “Absolutely fuming at the actions of this privileged prat.
“His insensitivity, cruelty and nastiness has been incomprehensible. Expel him.”
One donater, known only as Eileen, added: “With love from one who doesn’t have money to burn.”
Another page, set up by Shashwat Jha, has raised £3,300 for the charity, plus £227 in gift aided money.
Shashwat wrote on the page: “I ask you to donate a symbolic £20. £20 provides up to 20 meals for Jimmy’s guests on any given day.
“£26 is the cost for a homeless person to have a bed, evening meal and breakfast, for each night. If we work together to bring about social change, then we can truly touch so many lives.”
Barry Griffiths, Communities Engagement Officer at the charity said: “We are very well supported by the community, it’s nice of the community to rally round the people who need it.
“It highlights even on a particularly grey day that there are individuals who need support.”
Jimmy’s Night Shelter is the only emergency accommodation provider in Cambridge, and aims to get homeless people off the street and into more permanent accommodation elsewhere.
Ronald Coyne has already been kicked out of the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) and a petition with 22,000 signatures has called for him to be removed from the university.