A man who has cleaned a war memorial for decades has had his stolen tools replaced after a fundraiser received celebrity support.

Tony Foulds, 88, has seen it as his duty to clean the memorial to 10 US airmen in Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park since it was built, after he claims the Mi Amigo bomber plane they were flying in swerved to avoid him while he was fighting with other children.

The crash, in February 1944, was brought more recently to public attention by Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast, when Foulds said the airman had waved to try to get the children to move out of the way.

Dan Walker backed the fundraiser to buy new tools (Ian West/PA)

But the children thought he was waving at them, and they stayed in the same place and waved back, forcing the pilot to avoid them and crash into the hillside.

Walker arranged a flypast for Foulds and the airmen on the 75th anniversary of the crash.

On Wednesday his tools, leaf blower and batteries were stolen, leaving him unable to carry out his usual cleaning.

A GoFundMe fundraiser was quickly launched with the support of Walker, and Screwfix has replaced the tools.

Walker said in a Twitter post: “Genuinely blown away by the response – as is Tony – who is really emotional because of the outpouring of kindness.

“So many individuals, families and companies offered to help – I went with the first ones who were Screwfix, who are going to replace everything.”

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Patrick McDonough, who set up the fundraising page, said more than £1,000, which had been raised since Wednesday, would go to Foulds, in order to fund his work in the future.

He said in a post on the page: “Thank you everyone who has donated to the cause.

“I have contacted Dan’s representative this morning about getting the money over to Tony and I hope this will help him in his ventures moving forward.

“Again, you are all so kind to contribute to this. There is certainly good left in the world. Thank you.”

In the page’s introduction, McDonough described Foulds as “a real pillar of the community” and added that “everybody knows him”.

Foulds claims he has maintained the crash site since 1953, however this has been disputed as the memorial was not erected until 1969.

Certain other details from the events of the crash have also been questioned, as Foulds initially told the BBC he had been playing with the boys, rather than scuffling with them.