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Woman hurt in riding accident to fly home after £30,000 raised in online appeal

A woman paralysed in a horse riding accident in Egypt is expected to fly back to the UK today after an online appeal raised more than £30,000.

Olivia Fairclough, 31, was living and working in the country when she was crushed by her horse in the accident last month.

Her travel insurance lapsed leaving her stricken 2,500 miles from home, in Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees.

But her loved ones and even strangers raised enough money to repatriate her after her friends contacted the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for help.

Andy Mawson, an aircrew paramedic at the Darlington-based charity, approached Capital Air Ambulance, which agreed to fly a specially equipped Learjet 45 to pick up Ms Fairclough from a Cairo hospital.

A GoFundMe fundraising page started by Olivia's brother Trevor Fairclough raised £32,500 from more than 1,300 donors.

He said: "The way we were brought up, it's almost embarrassing to ask for help.

"But we felt so alone, we had no choice. The response has restored our faith in humanity.

"To say 'thank you' is not enough."

Ms Fairclough underwent four hours of surgery in a specialist spinal hospital in Cairo last week.

Writing on the GoFundMe website, Mr Fairclough said she had come round and was " smiling at my stupid one liners".

Ms Fairclough will be flown to Durham Tees Valley Airport on Monday evening before being taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Doctors have been helping the family prepare for her return home and treatment.

Mr Mawson said: "Like everyone else, we just want to get Olivia home. We have all pulled together to make this happen. Our priority is to get this over the line to ensure Olivia gets the care she needs, surrounded by those she loves."

Lisa Humphries, of Exeter-based Capital Air Ambulance, said: "We just wanted to help the family. We knew money was an issue and we did everything we could to make it possible."

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