Son's appeal to build proper home for his long-lost Nepalese mother raises £6,300 in just one week
A fund set up to help build a new home in Nepal for the long-lost mother of a Northern Ireland man has raised more than £6,300 in just a week.
John Hodge (35) found his mum Maile (57) living almost destitute after not having seen her for 30 years.
She had returned to her native Nepal after her marriage in Northern Ireland broke down.
When John - a musician - came home from his trip to find her, he immediately launched an appeal to raise £7,500 to build her a simple but safe house.
Maile is living in a makeshift hovel in the earthquake-hit country on a riverbank with a mud floor, no walls and an unstable corrugated roof.
"The response to the appeal to help mum has been just fantastic," John said.
"I've been simply blown away by everyone's generosity. We never expected to come so close to our target so soon. Donations have been pouring in from all directions - from people we know, and from many we don't know. Amazingly, many people have contacted us who remember mum from her days in Northern Ireland, when we lived in Carrickfergus.
"I want to thank everybody for everything they have done for us."
John also revealed a charity concert to support the appeal will be held on the evening of August 2 in the King's Head on Belfast's Lisburn Road.
He's putting together the musicians for the fundraising gig, with his own band The Big Kahuna among them.
Building a new home for Maile in the remote corner of Nepal where she lives will cost between £8,000 and £10,000, he said
Father-of-two John has already booked his ticket to go back to see his mum in November - and to get the construction work for her new home under way.
If any extra money is raised by the appeal, John plans to donate it to help victims of the Nepal earthquake.
A Facebook page has been established to keep people updated on how the fund is going (www.facebook.com/ahouseformaile).