A fan of The Archers has raised almost £50,000 for a domestic violence charity in less than seven days.

Paul Trueman from Georgeham took to Twitter after being moved by the plight of character Helen Titchener.

He set up a Just Giving page in her name for national charity Refuge on Tuesday week and struck a chord with social media users, who responded in droves.

In the first night it raised £1,000, with thousands more pouring in to bring it to £45,521 at the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday).

The 41-year-old head of social media at Bray Leino was inspired to set up The Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund after reading a New Statesman article whose author identified with Helen.

“This is something that’s really happening to real women all over the country,” said Paul.

“It was social media that opened the door, but it was the community that has been so incredibly generous.

“If you get the right time and the right moment you can create a perfect storm.”

Paul has received support on Twitter from celebrities including Sir Patrick Stewart, Lauren Laverne, Carol Vorderman and Kirstie Allsop.

He said the generosity had been ‘a real eye-opener’, with more than 3,000 people donating everything from £3 up to £1,000.

“The charity is really chuffed, they have had a huge amount of free publicity and it has been their biggest fundraiser that has been done with the public.”

“It has become a subject I am quite passionate about and while Refuge does an amazing job nationally there’s a brilliant charity right here in North Devon called North Devon Against Domestic Abuse.

“Women’s refuges should not exist in the 21st century, but we do need them and we need them a lot.”

Donate via www.justgiving.com/helentitchener

Find out more about North Devon Against Domestic Abuse.