Appeal to fly East Lancashire stroke mum home

Blackburn Citizen: Doreen and Maurice Blackburn Doreen and Maurice Blackburn

THE family of an East Lancashire woman in hospital in Portugal have launched a campaign to raise the £12,000 needed to bring her back home.

Great-grandmother-of-nine Doreen Blackburn, 78, needs a special air amb- ulance to bring her back to Britain after suffering three strokes.

The retired nurse and pub landlady, from Burnley, will require 24-hour treatment when she is released from a Red Cross rehabilitation centre next month.

Mrs Blackburn, who beat lung cancer six years ago, cannot walk, or feel down her left side, following a double stroke in November.

She moved to Sao Joao, in Albufeira, 15 years ago to retire with her husband of 58 years, Maurice, 78.

Her daughter, Sharon Borr- owdale, 53, said the family want her home ‘so we can all look after her’.

She said: “We need her home.

“We have a large family and we can all support her.

“We need her here to make her comfortable.

“We are trying our best to get her back, but time is running out.

“It’s still a risk putting mum on the air ambulance, but it’s one we’re aware of, and willing to take.”

Doctors at the Red Cross rehabilitation centre, in Tavira, warned Mrs Black-burn’s family that she fac-ed ‘serious risks’ if she tried to travel back to Britain on a normal flight.

Therefore, a specially-equip- ped air ambulance, which flies at low altitude, is req-uired, but the family said they were ‘struggling’ to meet the £12,000 fee.

Mrs Blackburn’s family said she could not afford trav- el insurance after the cost shot up following her cancer diagnosis.

Her daughter-in-law, Pam- ela Blackburn, said: “We’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

“It could cost us two or three times the £12,000 need- ed for the air ambulance to keep her in care over there.

“Maurice is getting ready to come back to a care home in Colne because he can only see Doreen twice a week and it’s taking its toll on him.”

Mrs Blackburn, who also has 10 grandchildren, work- ed as a nurse in the old Burnley Victoria Hospital, various care homes in Bur-nley and Pendle, and for Rolls Royce, in Barnold-swick.

She and Mr Blackburn, who worked as a driver for upholstery firm G Plan, ran the Moorgate Arms, and King’s Head pubs, in Blackburn, in the mid-1990s.

The couple lived in Moor-view Close, Harle Syke, bef-ore moving abroad in 1998.

Pamela, 44, said: “They moved there with nothing and rented a little apart-ment, and lived off the pen-sion that they worked for over here.

“When we bring them back home we are leaving every-thing they have behind, except important personal posessions.”

The family have appr-oached Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, and Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, to ask for help.

Pamela, of Sycamore Rise, Foulridge, said she planned to set up a support group for other families struggl-ing to repatriate loved ones who had moved abroad.

She said: “The sad thing is there are thousands of people who go abroad, have an accident, and the insur-ance companies won’t pay out.

“This isn’t an isolated case.

“I’ve looked online and loads of people have this problem.

“There are no governm-ent guidelines, no help for families at all. You have to stumble across information.”

Mr Stephenson said: “I have raised this case with ministers to see if anything can be done, and hope that a solution can be found.”

The family are in the process of organising a series of fundraisers to help bring Mrs Blackburn home.

To contact them, call 01282 861503, or 01282 866748.

Comments (7)

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5:22pm Thu 20 Feb 14

TONY WALES says...

Whilst one can only feel sorry for the lady and her family, you must remember she chose in live in Portugal, nobody forced her to leave the U/K.
Anybody going abroad must accept the risks and the conditions and services available in the chosen country.
There are many retired people living in Spain who now wish to take advantage of the free NHS service in the U/K. But they chose a life in the sun, stopped paying taxes to the U/K, it's no good now suddenly finding you want the free health service in the U/K.
Unless you are another Ronnie Biggs, and then the police will fetch you back free.
Whilst one can only feel sorry for the lady and her family, you must remember she chose in live in Portugal, nobody forced her to leave the U/K. Anybody going abroad must accept the risks and the conditions and services available in the chosen country. There are many retired people living in Spain who now wish to take advantage of the free NHS service in the U/K. But they chose a life in the sun, stopped paying taxes to the U/K, it's no good now suddenly finding you want the free health service in the U/K. Unless you are another Ronnie Biggs, and then the police will fetch you back free. TONY WALES

9:00pm Thu 20 Feb 14

goodall81 says...

Your entitled to have your opinion but this is not about suddenfly deciding wanting free healthcare back in Britain.
This lady worked for and paid into the NHS for many many years and chose to enjoy her retirement in a place which held fond memories.
This lady was diagnosed with lung cancer and rather than fleeing back to the free NHS service, she used her insurance to pay and battled the disease in Portugal!
SHE WON her fight and come what may, she'll win this one too!!!!!!
Your entitled to have your opinion but this is not about suddenfly deciding wanting free healthcare back in Britain. This lady worked for and paid into the NHS for many many years and chose to enjoy her retirement in a place which held fond memories. This lady was diagnosed with lung cancer and rather than fleeing back to the free NHS service, she used her insurance to pay and battled the disease in Portugal! SHE WON her fight and come what may, she'll win this one too!!!!!! goodall81

10:04pm Thu 20 Feb 14

emmanaz says...

This first comment is disgraceful well done goodall81
This first comment is disgraceful well done goodall81 emmanaz

12:06am Fri 21 Feb 14

josimp says...

You probably expected to get comments like the one from Tony Wales. Bloody typical. Ignore them. Just remember there are lots of folk in the area who will support your family in bringing back your mum/grandma. Good luck and hope she's back with you soon.
You probably expected to get comments like the one from Tony Wales. Bloody typical. Ignore them. Just remember there are lots of folk in the area who will support your family in bringing back your mum/grandma. Good luck and hope she's back with you soon. josimp

9:08am Fri 21 Feb 14

Thehodge says...

What a horrid person tony !!! This is a lady dedicated her life to helping people like me and you! She retired and chose to want to enjoy her life abroad why is that wrong? How can you compare her against Ronnie Briggs?? She is not on the run. Now after using her own money and insurances to pay for care she would like to come home where she belongs and spend the time she has left with her friends and family. To be looked after where she looked after so many before. In future if you don't like stories please do t comment. Why would you want to upset people?? Not a nice person with very blinkered views!
What a horrid person tony !!! This is a lady dedicated her life to helping people like me and you! She retired and chose to want to enjoy her life abroad why is that wrong? How can you compare her against Ronnie Briggs?? She is not on the run. Now after using her own money and insurances to pay for care she would like to come home where she belongs and spend the time she has left with her friends and family. To be looked after where she looked after so many before. In future if you don't like stories please do t comment. Why would you want to upset people?? Not a nice person with very blinkered views! Thehodge

9:18pm Mon 24 Feb 14

emmanaz says...

This first comment is disgraceful !!!! Well said goodall81
This first comment is disgraceful !!!! Well said goodall81 emmanaz

10:14pm Fri 28 Feb 14

unhappychappy says...

The first comment had a valid point!. I feel VERY sorry for her family, but she CHOSE NOT to pay the insurance and live in Portugal. She CHOSE to take the risk. She CHOSE to put her own needs first......and rightly so, but we have to accept consequences of our actions. She took a risk, and it backfired. We all do this at times. I am going to donate, because i DO really feel sorry for her family............bu
t anyone of us could find ourselves in this position. Good luck x
The first comment had a valid point!. I feel VERY sorry for her family, but she CHOSE NOT to pay the insurance and live in Portugal. She CHOSE to take the risk. She CHOSE to put her own needs first......and rightly so, but we have to accept consequences of our actions. She took a risk, and it backfired. We all do this at times. I am going to donate, because i DO really feel sorry for her family............bu t anyone of us could find ourselves in this position. Good luck x unhappychappy

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