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Watch as family makes urgent £25,000 appeal to bring pneumonia-stricken 80-year-old grandfather home from Turkey

The family of a Washington grandad who collapsed on holiday in Turkey have made a £25,000 appeal for help to bring him home.

By Kevin Clark
Monday, 13th June 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:36 pm

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Eighty-year-old Sammy Major has been fighting pneumonia for a week and is currently on a ventilator in a private hospital.

His family discovered he had no travel insurance and the bills were mounting at a rate of E1,800 a day.

Although they have now negotiated a reduced rate, the family still face having to find more than £400 a week to cover Sammy’s care as well as trying to fund a move to a state clinic or flying him home.

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The family has set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising £25,000.

Daughter Nicola Randles said her dad suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after working for years as a shipyard painter.

He had been on holiday with her sister Samantha when he was taken ill on June 6, five days after arrival: “He has got COPD so he does get a lot of chest infections. A few weeks ago he had some antibiotics and some steroids for his lungs,” said Nicola.

Samantha bought Sammy some antibiotics before going out for the evening but on return, found he had been taken seriously ill: “I got a phone call at about three o’clock in the morning to say dad had been taken to hospital and was on life support,” said Nicola.

Sammy Major is on a ventilator in hospital in Turkey

Sammy is now on the mend but still on a ventilator: “The infection is still there but he is responding,” said Nicola.

"My sister went in to see him – she was masked up and could not go too close but she seemed to think he sort of knew she was there.”

Hairdresser Nicola, from Biddick, said the family was unsure why Sammy had not taken out travel insurance but believed he may have assumed his European health card was sufficient.

With Samantha about to fly home, the need to raise the money to bring Sammy back too is growing urgent: "We desperately need to get him home, but unfortunately our family haven't got the resources,” said Nicola.

Nicola (left) and Samantha with Sammy

"As a family we would not like to ask for financial aid, and we are not proud, but we feel this could be our only option to pay for treatment or travel home.”

Sammy, who has another daughter Kim, and three grand-children, lost wife Gloria to cancer two years ago. Nicola said he had been a boxer in his youth and a fighter all his life: “Dad was the North East division champion two years running, something he is very proud of.

“He went on to run a boxing club for 30 years. He helped a lot of young kids for no payment at all as he loved the sport and wanted to support them,” she said.

“Dad is still involved with the boxing now at the ex-boxers’ association in Sunderland. He has fighting spirit in him and will be fighting to stay alive we’re sure.

Nicola Randles with dad Sammy Major

“He said to us after our Mam passed, that life is so precious, he was going nowhere and he was going to live until he was 100 years old.”

To donate, visit GoFundMe.com and search for ‘help Sammy come home’.

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Nicola Randles