MEMBERS of the community are standing in solidarity following the tragic armed robbery at Wylie’s Newsagents in Saltcoats, which saw an elderly man collapse and die.

Tony Ryan took ill after racing to comfort his 63-year-old partner on hearing that her workplace had been robbed by a knife man on Friday, January 12.

The 71-year-old had rushed to the scene, but became unwell and collapsed.

He died a short time later at Crosshouse Hospital. Following Tony’s tragic death, members of Whitlees Community Centre and staff at McColls in Ardrossan have pledged to raise money for the pensioner’s family.

Collection tins are currently at both premises, and there are plans for other local clubs and businesses to also have collections.

Johanna McMaster, manager at McColls in Ardrossan, said: “I don’t know them [Tony’s family] personally but it’s because it’s a local shop and we understand when these things happen.

“We were going to get local kids involved.

“It’s not connected to any business or company – it’s the local community.

“We’ve got ‘We stand together’ on our box so that we’re saying to our customers what’s happened and that we’re pulling together.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic response from the community in feeling and in donations.”

Mandy Rushbrook, who also works at McColls, added: “It’s just to show the family that we’re thinking of them.

“We work as a team in here and we just feel for them [Wylie’s].

“It’s a local newsagent and the amount of abuse newsagent staff get.

“We’re well aware of what can happen. We just wanted them to know we stand with them.

“It’s absolutely ghastly, it’s just heart-breaking.

“It’s a community-based thing to give the opportunity to raise as much as we can. Donations are welcome and we have a tin in McColls and in the Whitlees Community Centre.

“We’ve had a great response. We’ve got about £300 at least and that’s just since last Wednesday and in our shop.”