Sport stars including boxer Anthony Joshua have sent messages of support to an 11-year-old boy who lost a finger while trying to escape from school bullies.
Raheem Bailey, from Abertillery in south Wales, was attacked by a group of children on Tuesday, according to his mother, Shantal.
PA Media reported that the boy tried to flee but got a finger on his right hand caught while trying to climb a fence, and later it had to be amputated.
She said he has faced “racial and physical abuse” since starting secondary school in September.
Shantal said: “While he was climbing over, he had a ring on, and his ring attached to the fence and it ripped but also broke his finger.
“Basically, he was running away because he was so tired of being picked on every day.”
The family have received support in the days since the incident, with donations to a GoFundMe page reaching more than £85,000 and sport stars contacting Raheem to offer their backing.
They include footballers such as England international Jadon Sancho, former Wales captain Ashley Williams and retired defender turned pundit Gary Neville.
US basketball player Gerald Green, who had a successful career with nine fingers had been in touch to set up a call and speak to Raheem directly, Shantal said.
On Sunday, the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi was asked about the case and said it was “sickening”. He told Sky News he had been bullied at school and was committed to “stamping it out”. He recalled being thrown into a pond by bullies after moving to the UK from Iraq as a child.
Speaking to PA Media on Sunday, Shantal said: “Here’s so many people just in different places that have been so generous, and I did not expect what has happened so I am truly, truly grateful for it.”
She said that he had been in “utter agony”, adding: “The whole time [he was] telling me, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Mummy. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t stay there, like why does no one like me?’”
However the support he was getting had put a smile on his face, the 28-year-old said.
“I am truly, truly, truly grateful and if it can do anything by raising awareness for racism, bullies, whatever.”
A Welsh government spokesperson said: “We condemn bullying and racial harassment in any form and expect allegations and incidents of bullying and racism to be fully investigated by schools, with appropriate action taken to address the matter and prevent further instances from happening.”
The boy’s school, Abertillery learning community, had told Wales Online: “We are working closely with Gwent police and the local authority to establish the full details of the incident. The wellbeing and safety of our pupils and staff remains of paramount importance.”
A Gwent police spokesperson said it had received reports of an incident.
“A multi-agency meeting has taken place and we’re working with the school as part of our inquiries,” he told Wales Online.