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Notre Dame fire: British 9-year-old donates €3 to reconstruction appeal

It’s not just the rich and powerful who are donating money to the reconstruction of Notre Dame after fire ravaged the Paris cathedral earlier this month.

One tiny part of the almost €850 million ($947 million) donated so far comes from a much more modest source.
A 9-year-old British girl sent €3.38 to the Fondation du Patrimoine, one of the four organizations tasked by the French government with collecting donations for the rebuilding.

“Dear people of France and Paris. My name is Caitlyn, and I am 9 years old, I live in England,” Caitlyn Handley wrote in a letter to the foundation seen by CNN.

“I heard about the Notre Dame fire on the radio and wanted to help, I know it’s not much, but every bit helps. Hopefully it won’t take too long to build. Thanks, Caitlyn.”

Simon Handley, Caitlyn’s father, told CNN that his daughter was “very upset” by the crisis after discovering how old the cathedral was.

“She felt she had to do something about it — she said that she couldn’t give hundreds or thousands, but would give what she could,” he said.

Handley described his daughter as a “very bright girl” who cares deeply about “helping people and animals.”

Laurence Lévy, a spokeswoman for the Fondation du Patrimoine, told CNN that the organization is receiving thousands of checks a day.

“Our whole team has been mobilized and many volunteers have come to help us, because we are not accustomed to receiving such an influx of donations in such a short space of time in our normal work,” she said.

“Of course, when this crisis is over, we will take the time to respond to the thousands of donors — there are 219,000 of them today.”

Caitlyn was not alone in sending her money by post: Another Briton sent an envelope containing six £50 notes ($387) to the foundation.

These two British donations are among thousands from abroad. The Fondation du Patrimoine said in a statement that it had received 17,300 donations totaling €1.6 million from more than 160 foreign countries.

Lévy told CNN that the organization has collected a total of €164 million since the launch of its campaign.