A DISABLED man who was mugged by a masked thief weeks after both his wife and parents died has been ‘saved’ by the support of local residents who have rallied round to help raise funds.
Darren Barnes, of King Street in Goldthorpe, was left at his lowest after the death of his parents Margaret and Trevor, who died days apart from each other.
The 48-year-old, who has learning difficulties, was devastated at the loss of his parents who he relied on for support.
But then on Christmas Eve, days after the death of his mother, Darren’s beloved wife Sonia suddenly died aged 59 - leaving him with no immediate family and contemplating taking his own life.
Last week, Darren was walking on Phoenix Park in Thurnscoe when he was threatened by a masked man with a metal bar.
In a panic, Darren gave all of his money to the thief who got into a nearby car and left him.
Now, Darren’s cousin John Edmans, 47, has started an online fundraiser to help him get back on his feet after the ordeal.
He told the Chronicle: “In the span of 11 days, Darren lost everyone close to him and his entire support network.
“Because of his disabilities, Darren needs extra support day-to-day including with cooking and finances.
“The loss that he’s gone through is absolutely devastating and no-one should have to go through this amount of pain so suddenly.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that he was targeted like this. Darren was stalked from the cash machine at the bottom of the road by men in a car.
“When one of the men approached him, Darren said he distinctly remembered the man wearing John Lennon-style mirrored glass which really stood out to him.
“Hopefully, the people involved will be brought to justice. Having already lost everything, this pushed Darren even further down.”
John took straight to social media to share Darren’s story in the hope to spread awareness and help him overcome the events.
After a public outcry, John started an online fundraiser for Darren to help cover the cost of what was stolen, support him in the aftermath, and help with funeral costs.
“I can’t put into words what he is going through but the support of people from not only Barnsley, but across the country, has been phenomenal.
“I live in Cheshire so I’ve found it really hard to not be there with him as much as I’d have liked.
“I shared this fundraiser hopefully showing him how much people care for him but the response has been overwhelming.
“In a matter of days the fundraiser is already at £600 which is absolutely fantastic and really appreciated.
“I’ve even heard that Darren’s neighbours have rallied around him, by giving him food and even taking him for his coronavirus test.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their kindness towards him. This had really touched Darren’s heart and brought him out of a really dark place.”
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Officers received a call at 3pm on February 11 for reports of a robbery near to Phoenix Park.
( “It is reported that a 48-year-old man was walking home from the shops when he was approached by an unknown man.
“It is alleged that the man threatened the victim to hand over money with a weapon. The victim was unharmed.
“Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident number 372 of February 12.”
To donate to Darren’s fundraiser, visit gofundme.com and search for Darren Barnes.