Paul Gascoigne Donates £1,000 To Girl Whose Voice Machine Was Stolen

Often when you read about English football legend Paul Gascoigne in the news, it's a story about his alcoholism and the tragic effect that had on his life.

Not today, however. Today, we can celebrate the former Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Everton player for his empathy and generosity, after the 50-year-old donated £1,000 ($1,368) to an appeal that's raising money for a teenager's stolen speech machine.

Sixteen-year-old Miya Thirlby suffers from cerebral palsy and the machine - known as a liberator accent 100 - is the only way she can communicate. However, thieves stole it from her parents' car earlier this week.

It originally took the family six months to acquire and programme three years ago, so Miya's father, Paul - a Newcastle fan - started an online fundraising campaign and shared it on Twitter.

He was stunned when his namesake, who was clearly moved by the story, replied to his tweet and offered the generous sum of money to help Miya and her parents:

After that, it was like dominoes. People - including fellow ex-Newcastle star Alan Shearer - began to share the original tweet. It has since been retweeted more than 6,000 times.

"I just put it on Twitter - I don't have thousands of followers - I was just hoping that word would spread," Paul Thirlby told The Telegraph. "I didn't think it would be shared as much as it did. Alan Shearer posted it to his followers and sent me a message."

Offers of support and money flooded in from a whole host of people. And while the family are still hoping the machine turns up, they've now raised more than £8,000 for a new one.

And while Miya's family were overwhelmed by the football player's generosity, it seems to have touched the hearts of a lot of other people, too. And so it should have done. Nice one, Gazza!

You can donate here.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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