A FAMILY trying to bring an East Lancashire woman home from hospital in Portugal are one-third of the way there.

Relatives of Doreen Blackburn, who launched a fundraising appeal in the Lancashire Telegraph last Thursday to fly the 78-year-old back to Burnley, have already received donations totalling £3,500.

The retired nurse suffered two strokes in Albufeira before Christmas and needs a specialist air ambulance trip costing £12,000 to return to her family.

Mrs Blackburn, who used to work at Burnley Victoria Hospital and Rolls Royce, in Barnoldswick, moved abroad in 1998 with her husband Maurice, 78.

A battle with lung cancer six years ago left Mrs Blackburn unable to afford health insurance, and her daughter Sharon Borrowdale, praised the community in Burnley and Pendle for rallying round the family.

Mrs Borrowdale said: “The Get Doreen Home fundraising is going brilliantly. We have so far been pledged £2,613 on the JustGiving website and have also received cheques for Capital Air Ambulance to the value of £1,150.

“We cannot quite believe how wonderful and generous people are being and would like to give our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated so far.”

Mrs Blackburn, who used to run the Moorgate Arms and King’s Head pubs in Blackburn, has been recovering in the Red Cross rehabilitation centre in Tavira since December.

Mrs Borrowdale, of Grassington Avenue, Briercliffe, said her father, who remains in Portugal, had also been in touch to thank those raising money.

The family’s next fundraiser is on Sunday from 1pm to 5pm at Joseph Lanzante Training Academy, in Walmesley Court, Clayton-le-Moors.

It will feature sponsored head shaves, nose and body waxing, hand massages, cut throat shaves, raffles, a tombola and children’s face painting.

The Morris Dancers pub in Byron Road, Colne, has also announced two days of fundraising, with a coffee morning and leg waxing on March 7, and a disco and raffles on March 8.