A grieving family left needing to raise more than £30,000 to bring home the body of a Blackpool barber killed in an horrific jet ski accident today said they had been stunned by the “phenomenal” response to their plight.
The family of tragic Stephen Campbell, 38, who died while on holiday in Thailand, set up a Facebook page over the weekend to help pay for his repatriation – and have already managed to raise £10,000.
Devastated relatives were shocked to learn his insurance policy did not cover jet skiing, meaning they are left having to pick up the bill to bring him back to the UK.
Mr Campbell, of Talbot Road, Layton, died when his jet ski hit a wave, causing him to lose balance and fall into a rope that was anchoring a nearby boat.
Brother-in-law Giles Ward said the family wants to get the body home as soon as it is released by the Thai authorities so they can start making funeral arrangements.
He said: “On a horrific occasion like this, his body being in another country just makes things even worse.
“It’s really just a case of getting him back so we can lay him to rest and go through the grieving process you would do normally. At the end of the day, the family is in limbo.
“We’re going through the grieving process but it’s even more difficult because he’s not in the country.”
Since the appeal went online it has attracted offers of support from businesses wanting to help by donating profits or hosting fund-raising events.
So far, more than 2,000 have joined the Facebook group and Mr Ward said the family has even been contacted by a local celebrity interested in helping out.
He added: “Within a day we raised £5,000 – the response has been absolutely phenomenal. Stephen was quite a memorable character. He touched a lot of people and I think that is reflected on the Facebook page.
“The support of local businesses – pubs, clubs and all sorts of other businesses – has been brilliant.
“We just want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for all the love and support they are showing.”
Mr Campbell, who ran Urban Barbers, on Talbot Road, was taken to Banglamung Hospital, near Pattaya, at around 2pm on Wednesday but died of his injuries.
The “Bring Him Home...!” Facebook page includes bank and Pay Pal account details for people to donate to the appeal.