A PENSIONER who was attacked by a knife-wielding gang in South Africa is preparing to fly home on Friday.

Kathleen Strachan, 72, suffered a seback on her quest to return home to Colne when doctors in Cape Town discovered her blood sugar level had risen.

Mrs Strachan, who is not diabetic, has been released from hospital and is taking Insulin.

Her son Donald Strachan, 36, also of Colne, said his mother made the trip to South Africa to attend her granddaughter Amanda Oliver's wedding.

Severely disabled, she was assaulted as she walked to a railway station in Kraaifontein, 25 miles from the capital of Cape Town, with her daughter Lynn Daley.

The grandmother will make the trip home on Friday, accompanied by a nurse, after receiving treatment for her broken shoulder and facial injuries.

Donald said: "My sister sent me a message today to say that mum was alright and had come home from hospital.

"I spoke to my mum yesterday and she was alright within herself."

But he added she sounded different because her face was so swollen.

"She can't remember anything about the attack at all and because it was so early in the morning there wasn't anybody around.

"My sister has given the police a description of the attackers but at the moment they still haven't been caught.

"I am counting down the days now until she gets home so we can look after her."

Mrs Strachan, who organises the annual poppy collections for the Royal British Legion in Nelson, was travelling by rail because her daughter's car was not working.

Mrs Daley, a chemical sales representative, was on her way to work while her mother planned to exchange foreign currency at a bank.

Mrs Strachan was pushed to the floor by a gang of six or seven youths at 6.15am on Friday but was unable to break her fall because she suffers congenital paralysis in her arms.

The thugs stole a watch, necklace, a purse containing £1,000 and her passport.

South Africa is the fastest growing tourism destination in the world and has one of the highest rates of violent crime.

Johann van Tonder, a journalist for one of Cape Town's biggest daily newspapers, Die Burger, said: "Violence on trains has been in the spotlight in the past, with an off-duty security guard receiving 17 stitches after an attack on the train on Tuesday. The next day, a 21-year-old woman was also badly assaulted on a train.

"Our paper has been overwhelmed with outcry against this from the community."

Cheryl Ozinsky, head of tourism in the Western Cape said people travelling in the country should be made aware that trains aren't safe.

She added: "We would advise all tourists to travel in pairs."