Colleagues of 'much-loved' murdered midwife raise £10,000 to give her 'send-off she deserves'
A fundraising appeal launched to help pay for the funeral of a much-loved hospital midwife has reached its £10,000 target.
The body of Samantha Eastwood was found in a rural area near Caverswall, Staffordshire, on Saturday, following an intensive police search, eight days after her disappearance.
A 32-year-old man, Michael Stirling, appeared before magistrates on Monday charged with her murder.
Miss Eastwood's extended NHS family and members of the public were invited to give her "the send-off she deserves" with the launching of a gofundme appeal page at the weekend.
Just over 24 hours since starting, the fund went through its target, as it continued to be swelled by donations from the many hundreds of people touched by her death.
Beth Taylor, who launched the site, said: "Samantha was a lovely young woman who helped to bring so many lives into this world.
"She had a bright future ahead of her and sadly this was taken away far too soon."
Former Keele University student Miss Eastwood, 28, from Baddeley Green in Stoke-on-Trent, worked at the Royal Stoke Hospital, where staff described her as a "much-loved and valued" colleague.
Ms Taylor added: "Samantha's story has been followed by midwives and NHS workers worldwide.
"They have been touched by the kind words from mothers Samantha had cared for and colleagues who have worked alongside her.
"Samantha has been described as a warm, gentle, kind woman and will be remembered for her amazing efforts as a midwife and will be truly missed by many.
"Samantha's extended NHS family would like to support her mother Carole and sister Gemma in their time of grief by contributing to Samantha's funeral costs and to ensure one of our shining stars has the send-off she deserves.
"Rest in peace Samantha."
The impact of Miss Eastwood's death on the public was laid bare by tributes left on the page, including those from fellow midwives, old school friends and mothers whose children she helped to deliver.
Sarah Williams wrote: "Samantha I cannot thank you enough for all you did for me and my twins.
"You were amazing and for that I'm eternally grateful. Fly high beautiful. Rip my heart and thoughts are with her family."
Another fund donor wrote: "It's the least I can do to support her family at this difficult time and to honour a local lass with the send off she deserves - RIP Hun x."
Pledges can still be made at www.gofundme.com/jvm4g-samantha-eastwood.