A FAMILY have said they are ‘eternally grateful’ after Lancashire Telegraph readers helped raise the £12,000 needed to fly poorly great-grandmother Doreen Blackburn back from Portugal.

Mrs Blackburn, 78, has finally returned to the UK, four months after suffering three strokes which left her in hospital in Albufeira.

Her daughter, Sharon Borrowdale, said: “We just cannot say thank you enough to everyone who have helped us.”

Mrs Blackburn, who used to live with her husband, Maurice, in Harle Syke, moved to Portugal in 1998 to retire.

She was flown back to England on Monday on a specially-equipped air ambulance, which her family  fundraised to hire after a previous battle with lung cancer meant the great-grandmother-of-nine could not afford health insurance.


Hundreds of people donated to the cause after reading about Mrs Blackburn’s plight in the Lancashire Telegraph on February 20.

Pamela Blackburn, who is Doreen’s daughter-in-law, said the former nurse was being assessed in Airedale General Hospital, West Yorkshire.

She said: “She is so pleased that she’s home. She loved the journey and she’s thrilled to be back. She just needed some oxygen to see her through but the paramedics were excellent.

“We’re not sure how long it is going to take before she’s out of hospital. She’s very tired at the minute and not totally aware of what’s gone on. I would love for her to be able to say how much she appreciates all the donations, but I don’t think she can comprehend the situation.”

Mrs Borrowdale, of Grassington Avenue, Briercliffe, added: “We just cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has helped us.”

Mr Blackburn, who ran the Moorgate Arms and King’s Head pubs, both in Blackburn, with his wife in the mid-1990s, is due to to fly back from Portugal on Sunday.