Holiday nightmare after grandfather’s stroke in Thailand

Colin Blakemore with his daughter Pauline Greene
Colin Blakemore with his daughter Pauline Greene

IT was meant to be an elderly St Helens couple’s exotic dream holiday – but it turned into their worst nightmare.

Following a massive double stroke, Phillip Blakemore has been left fighting for his life in a hospital in Pattaya, Thailand.

Then a mistake on the 76-year-old Saints fan’s insurance form has rendered his policy void and has left his heartbroken family scratching their heads about how to get him back home.

In the form, filled out before he set off for the far east, Mr Blakemore failed to mention that he suffers from angina.

Mr Blakemore’s son-in-law, Phil Greene, told the St Helens Reporter: “The hospital fees alone are up to about £60,000 now and are going up every day. There’s no way we could raise that sort of money. We’ve been offered a repatriation charge which we could just about afford, but the hospital fees are huge.

“Two doctors in London are prepared to fly out to Thailand and bring him home. But, even though they would be working for free, it would still cost us about £30,000 in airline charges because of his condition.

“If he was in a hospital in Britain he wouldn’t have been operated on but in Thailand, because they regard all life as holy, doctors are not allowed to withdraw feeding or medication.

“We’ve been told he will never recover but the best we can do is get him home to his family.”

Mr Blakemore has been visiting Thailand with Vera for the last 30 years.

His brother John, 74, told how Mr Blakemore grew up in Rainhill and, after a spell in the Air Force, lived for a number of years on Dragon Lane in Whiston before later moving to live in Blackpool.

Mr Blakemore worked for the St Helens Reporter for a number of years back in the 1970s at our old College Street base.

Phil Greene added: “Vera flew home last week because there’s nothing she can do just sat in the hospital. For all we know, he could be stuck there for two years.

“What we need is a knight in shining armour to help us bring him back home. We’ve got the local MP and financial ombudsman involved but are desperate for more help.”

Anyone who thinks they can help bring Mr Blakemore home can email:

A spokeswoman for Mr Blakemore’s claims and assistance handler, Europ Assistance, said an initial payment was only made to the hospital to ensure Mr Blakemore did not have to instantly find the funds to pay the initial bill – but confirmed that his policy was void.

Insurers European Travel Insurance added: “We are very sorry to receive news of Mr Blakemore’s illness.

“But, generally, it is vitally important that anyone makes a full and complete disclosure when they buy any insurance policy.”