By Finley Harnett
The South Harrow Market retailer who had the windows of his coffee kiosk smashed in by a thug with a hammer has today thanked Harrow Online readers for raising £570 to cover the damage.
On June 13, we published an interview with father-of-three Paramalingam Mathievanan, 43, the owner of Coorg Kaapi on Northolt Road, after shocking footage of the June 6 incident went viral.
In response to the article, an online fundraiser was set up to help Mr Mathievanan cover the cost of installing new windows. Harrow residents responded in their droves, raising almost £600 in four days. Now Mr Mathievanan, who has been in charge of the coffee bar since June 2019, has offered a coffee on the house for those who chipped in.
“I’m so, so grateful to everyone who supported me,” the South Harrow-based business owner told Harrow Online after receiving the money on June 26. “I felt so hopeless in the days after the incident: I didn’t know if I could afford new windows, I didn’t even have a picture of the person who smashed my windows. But since that video came out, I’ve been amazed by the response of the community. It made me realise: yes, God is still there to support me.”
Mr Mathievanan, who has been working part time since the attack, wants to thank each and every donor in person. “I want to give thanks to everyone who supported me with a complimentary drink — I don’t want to take this for free. I would shake the hand of every person who has helped me out, if it weren’t for COVID-19!”
Among those due to receive a coffee and an elbow bump from the Coorg Kaapi owner is Brett Lake-Benson, 48, who organised the fundraiser on GoFundMe. The web developer said he was inspired to take action after reading our report earlier this month.
“What struck me when I read your article was the fact that a few hundred pounds could make the difference between this guy’s business going under or surviving. So I thought, Harrow can do this. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things — all it would take is a few dozen donations of a few quid each and we could make a real difference.”
The success of the fundraiser demonstrates that community spirit is alive and well in Harrow, Mr Lake-Benson added. “It’s always been alive and well. People say it’s not because we often just get the bad news, but the good news is that people have rallied together to get this man’s windows fixed. I’m looking forward to popping down to South Harrow to pay Paramalingam a visit. It’s good coffee and has this lovely spiced flavour.”
In a statement issued to Harrow Online on June 28, the Metropolitan Police Press Bureau said: “An investigation is ongoing. There have been no arrests. Anyone who recognises the man is asked to call police or tweet @MetCC ref CAD 5795/12 June.”