GENEROUS donors have dug deep to give sea hero Marco Araujo the funeral he deserves.
Members of the public have smashed the fundraising target set by his family and pledged a total of £1,750.
Relatives of the 33-year-old, who lost his life while saving two young children from drowning, said they were stunned by the response to their appeal.
In The News on Monday they asked for help bringing Mr Araujo’s mother and sister to England from Portugal for his funeral – and were aiming to raise £800.
But they have received a flood of pledges from individuals and businesses, as well as the offer of a free funeral worth £1,900 from Mayfield Funerals, free accommodation in Southsea’s Seacrest Hotel and a tour around the Gafirs lifeboat station.
Tyler Saunders, 20, is the daughter of Marco’s long-term partner Tracey Hall and organised the fundraising push.
She said: ‘Thank you so much to everyone who pledged money, it will really help.
‘Marco’s mum had to take a loan out to afford to fly here, so now we can pay her back and anything that doesn’t get spent on the funeral will go towards the Stroke Association and the RNLI.’
Miss Hall added that it was important to make sure Marco’s mother and sister attended the funeral.
‘It couldn’t have been the same without them,’ she said.
‘After what happened we were all angry, but this makes you realise how good people can be.
‘We’re incredibly grateful and with some money going to the RNLI maybe something good can come out of all this.
‘If one person in Marco’s situation can be saved his death won’t have been in vain.’
She added: ‘I would like to say thank you to everybody who has donated or pledged money.
‘And a huge thank you for all the heartfelt support, in particular the funeral director who offered to do everything for free.
‘It’s meant a lot at such a difficult time.’
Owner of the city’s two New Kwiki Marts, Neil Sodha, donated £800 and said: ‘He was a hero. This was the least we can do.’