A Bridport man's family are desperately trying to raise money to repatriate him to the UK as he fights for his life in a Cyprus hospital with Covid.

Stuart Haskins and wife Tracey went on holiday for the first time in two years for a ten-day stay in Cyprus earlier this month - however, things took a rapid turn for the worst a day before the pair were due to come home.

On November 12, dad-of-two Stuart began experiencing chest pains and a high temperature and went to the Limassol General Hospital in Kato Polemidia.

The couple were both fully vaccinated against Covid and were due to have their third booster jab prior to leaving the UK, however their appointment was cancelled, apparently due to a shortage of the vaccine.

They were tested in the Cyprus hospital and both were found to have coronavirus.

The couple stayed overnight at the hospital and Stuart was put on oxygen.

The family said the next day Tracey, who was asymptomatic, was asked to leave the hospital without being given a chance to say goodbye to Stuart and was driven to an isolation hotel over an hour away where she has been staying alone ever since.

Stuart's condition quickly declined in the hospital after he was diagnosed with double pneumonia and taken to ICU - the family have recently been informed that one of Stuart's lungs has collapsed.

His family have been liaising with repatriation companies recommended by the British Embassy which have said that Stuart needs to come home to a hospital in the UK to receive better care.

However his insurance company told the News, that he was in a 'safe hospital environment' and that it is 'not safe or appropriate to move him at this time'.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Stuart and Tracey, both 53, grew up and lived in Bridport before they moved away from the area five years ago to Trowbridge, Wiltshire where they work in a hotel.

They both attended Colfox School and Stuart was an active member of the Bridport Conservative Club and chairman for a number of years, even after moving away.

Stuart and Tracey visit Bridport often and have family living in the area. Stuart's parents live in Beaminster.

His sister, Lisa Tattershall, who lives in Florida, has been desperately trying to help her brother so he can get back to the UK.

The family have set up a fundraising page to raise money for a private airlift so Stuart can be treated in a hospital in England where the family believe he will be more comfortable and they can be closer to him.

Lisa said that the couple left for Cyprus with travel insurance with RAC but have struggled to be able to get the repatriation service that is used by the insurer to help.

She said they have been unable to get him repatriated through their insurers after they kept running into issues, and were told it would take 7 to 10 days just for them to get a hold of Stuart's medical records in the UK - time which Stuart's family fear he may not have.

Lisa said that when speaking to other repatriation services which were recommended to her by the British Embassy, they said they could move Stuart within 24 to 48 hours.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

£17,000 raised so far

The fundraising page is asking for £34,000, and only days after setting the page up, more than £17,000 has been pledged.

Lisa said: "We just really want him to come home.

"It's been absolutely outstanding how many people have donated. We are very humbled by it.

"It is unbelievable how generous people have been and I have been trying to thank people on behalf of Tracey who is all by herself over there at the moment."

She added: "Stuart is such an incredible person. He is a wonderful brother and an amazing husband, dad and son. He is a light in all our lives. Even if he is going through a tough time or things aren't going well for him he is the kind of person who will always try and make you laugh and smile."

To donate to the family's fundraising page, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stuart-haskins?utm_id=2&utm_term=YwZdNW6Vp


'It's not safe to move him' - insurers

An RAC Travel Insurance spokesman said: "Mr Haskins is currently receiving intensive care treatment. He is presently in a safe hospital environment with his condition being appropriately monitored and treated. Medical opinion is that it is neither safe nor appropriate to move him, even by air ambulance.

"The experts in aeromedicine that we have appointed are in direct discussion with the treating doctor. An air ambulance can and will be arranged as soon as there is an agreement between the medical teams that he is stable enough for the transfer.

"We fully appreciate this is an anxious time for the family; the welfare of the patient is our prime concern and a return to the UK by air during a period of severe illness can only proceed when the patient's condition has stabilised enough to satisfy the treating and transferring medical teams."

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are providing support to a British national and his family in Cyprus.”