A man who was left fighting for his life in Cuba after his pancreas burst while on holiday, is now improving.
For a week Keith Rochester from Houghton was critical and on a life-support ventilator.
However, his wife Sharon said he is now awake and managing to talk to her and his sister, Liz Cummings, who flew out to be with them.
The 42-year-old said: "He was so funny last night joking on and putting his thumbs up at the doctors and nurses... He was even saying he cant wait to have some tomato soup."
Keith had to undergo several surgeries after being rushed into the Cuban hospital and also suffered a collapsed lung.
He is still seriously ill with a long way to go, but his Sharon says she hopes he ramains strong and positive and she is passing on all the messages of support.
Keith, 41, is the brother of Christopher Rochester, who died after a fall from a balcony in Rhodes in 2000 and whose body was flown back with a kidney missing.
Since then his parents, Pam and George Cumming from Chester-le-Street, have been in a battle with the Greek authorities over the missing organ.
Keith’s sister, Liz Cummings flew out to Cuba last week to support her brother and sister-in-law, and their parents are due to join them next week.
A family friend has set up a fundraising page to help ease the financial pressures on Keith and Sharon.
Sharon said: “We know it is going to be a very long road ahead and as we are both unable to work, as well as keeping us here, it is important that we keep fundraising.”
To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/hdyqrxpw.