A sick British teacher stranded in China for months after having a stroke is to fly home thanks to former pupils raising more than £50,000 in six hours to fund his return.
Geology teacher Bob Allison, has been paralysed across the left side of his body after suffering from a stroke on January 4.
The popular 68-year-old's family hoped he could be treated to the UK for treatment. They were told flights would cost at least £35,000 due to coronavirus restrictions, while his medical bills already stand at more than £12,000.
Bob's daughter Claire, who lives in Bristol, said she feared her dad's condition would continue to decline if he couldn't get back to Britain.
"It is the recommendation of the Chinese hospital that he is transferred back to the UK as soon as possible in order to receive the best possible treatment.
"But, with borders currently closed and the Chinese Embassy not currently issuing entry visas, our best hope of getting him back to the UK is to go down an official repatriation route.
"However, with few commercial flights currently available and compulsory 14-day quarantine periods, this is likely to come at an extremely high cost.
‘Unfortunately, my dad’s employee insurance will not cover any repatriation costs, and is unlikely to cover much of his outstanding medical bills from the last two months owing to pre-existing medical conditions."
But now former pupils and well-wishers have stepped in to pay for his safe return.
A GoFundMe page set up by Bob's daughter, 32. just two days ago has so far raised more than £52,000 – with a whopping £50k secured within the first six hours.
The fundraising for Bob, who taught at a schools in Worcester for four decades before moving to China last year, has also attracted dozens of emotional tributes from former pupils.
Lissa O'Grady, who donated £150, wrote: "Such an exceptional man. My children and I (Matthew and Sarah) knew him from Chantry (School) days.
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"I also worked in the school office and saw how much he cared about the children.
"Can't tell you how much positive influence he had on our lives. We so hope you can get him home soon and he gets all the care he deserves. We send our love xxx."
Claire admitted she was "overwhelmed" when the fundraiser went past the £50k mark, before thanking donors.
Writing an update, she said: "This is so incredible! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all of these donations.
"I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the kind messages and support I’ve received for my dad.
"I never dreamed I would hit the target within just six hours of the fundraiser going live!
"I know he would be very grateful for the support too; I will save all of the comments and messages to share with him when he is home.
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"I am so overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the community, we didn’t ever expect it to take off like it has.
"We felt guilty for setting up the page, we wanted to find the money ourselves. ‘But, with no end in sight and the mounting costs, we realised we needed help.
"I never dreamed that we would hit our goal in such a short amount of time, I am so grateful. This money will make a huge difference.
"It just goes to show how many people dad touched during his career. It is such a relief to know that we can now do all we can to bring him home. We really appreciate it."
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