A fundraising campaign in memory of journalist Lyra McKee has raised more than £50,000 (€57,770) in just one day.

The 29-year-old was killed in Derry on Thursday night after she was shot in the head amid riots in the city.

Two men, aged 18 and 19, have been arrested today in connection with Ms McKee’s murder, which police believe was perpetrated by dissident republicans linked to the New IRA.

A GoFundMe page was set up yesterday morning to assist with funeral expenses for Ms McKee’s family and to decide on her legacy.

The appeal, established by her friends Michael Harris and Padraig Reidy, exceeded its goal of raising £50,000 after more than 1,900 people donated money.

A statement on the page describes Ms McKee as “one of the nicest, smartest and most decent people I have ever met” and “an incredible investigative journalist”.

“Lyra was part of a new generation of Northern Irish journalists (and young people) who had moved past sectarian identities and wanted to build a more progressive, more peaceful Northern Ireland. Lyra was a powerful advocate for LGBTi rights, civil liberties and human rights.

“I had the pleasure to get to know Lyra through her working on the grassroots campaign to reform the law of libel in Northern Ireland. Lyra was a passionate defender of press freedom and exposing the truth,” the statement said.

Fundraising page in memory of Lyra McKee exceeds £50,000 goal

Police and dissident republicans clashed on Thursday night, with officers, who described the shooting as a “terrorist incident”, believing the violence was carried out in response to an earlier search in the Creggan Estate aimed at averting trouble associated with this week’s anniversary of the Easter Rising.

CCTV released by the PSNI captured Ms McKee’s final moments at around 10pm, when she stood among a crowd of other innocent bystanders and raised her phone in the air to capture the violence.

In her last post on Twitter, Ms McKee posted a picture showing smoke rising into the sky as police vans drove towards the scene of the unrest, describing the events unfolding in Derry on the night as “absolute madness”.

As a “rising star of investigative journalism”, Ms McKee was a freelance journalist based in Belfast and had written for publications including BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and Private Eye.

She also worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.

As a published author, her book, Angels With Blue Faces, about the Troubles murder of South Belfast MP Robert Bradford, was released in 2018, while Faber is due to release her second book, The Lost Boys, in 2020.

Politicians, journalists and colleagues in Ireland and around the world have been among those paying tribute to Ms McKee.

Leading these tributes was her partner Sara Canning who said her “amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act”.

Ms Canning said: “Victims and LGBTQIA community are left without a tireless advocate and activist and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with.

This cannot stand, Lyra’s death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else’s life and her legacy will live on and the life that she has left behind.

Events are being held in Omagh and Belfast today in memory of Ms McKee.

You can donate to the GoFundMe campaign here.

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