Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Crowdfunding aids elderly UK couple’s return flight

Panaji: A elderly British couple stranded in Goa for more than a month will finally make their way home to Bradford, UK after an online crowdfunding initiative helped pay for their flight back.
Barry Lodge, 72, and Beth McKelvie, 63, spent a significant amount of their life savings while desperately trying to get flights home even as McKelvie struggled for life-saving inhalers in Goa.
The pair were due to return home to Bradford, West Yorkshire, on March 18, but their flight from Goa to Mumbai was delayed and they missed their connecting Etihad Airways flight back to the UK. The couple, said Lodge, spent two days stranded there before a fellow passenger helped them book new flights with Qatar Airways online for an extra £2,000.

By then, their tourist visas had expired and the couple lost out on their tickets. After several hotels turned them away, the couple took a taxi all the way back to Goa only to get stuck in the 21-day lockdown.

Lodge said that all attempts to contact the Foreign Office, the British embassy in India and various helplines came to nought.

“Cannot even get inhalers and medication. The wife’s inhalers are running out. All we want is to go home. It is not our fault that the flights got cancelled,” said Lodge.

Random strangers have come to their aid after a fellow Briton noticed their plight and started an online GoFundMe campaign.

Around 121 people raised £4,355 out of the £5,000 that the couple has spent from their savings.

Their ordeal appears to be coming to an end with UK announcing 17 more rescue flights to India, including three to Goa.
21/04/20 Times of India
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