The family of a Swindon taxi driver who collapsed and died suddenly in Thailand is seeking financial support to help give him the send off he deserves.
Nathan Blake, 48, who was well known in the town, is believed to have suffered a heart attack last week in the city of Udon Thani near the border with Laos.
His daughter Megan, 20, was devastated when her mother Samantha phoned early on Thursday morning to break the news of his death. At first, Megan and her sister Lucie didn’t believe it. “He wasn’t ill; he wasn’t poorly at all,” she said. But when they contacted the Foreign Office, the news was confirmed.
Their father had been on his way to the hospital when he died. “He had pain in his chest and passed away in the ambulance, and they couldn’t resuscitate him,” said Megan. “I never expected in a million years to get a phone call to say Dad’s dead.”
Mr Blake, who became divorced from the girls’ mother eight years ago, first travelled to Thailand in 2013 where he met a local woman. Since then, he had been splitting his time between Swindon and Thailand. When he was back in the UK, he worked from the rank at the railway station and was a regular at the Albion Club in Bridge Street.
The family had expected him back next month. “It’s my birthday on Sunday, and he was trying to get home for that, but the flight was too expensive.” So he had planned to celebrate with her in February.
She and younger sister Lucie, 16, lost their grandfather last month and Megan had been staying with her grandmother to keep her company when she got the call. At first, they feared they wouldn’t be able to get him home to say goodbye. They even started a crowdfunding account online and appealed for help.
“I was just getting knocked back and knocked back, so I set up a Go Fund Me page,” said Megan, of Mulberry Grove. A family member has now stepped in to help with the cost of flying Nathan’s body home.
Nobody knows how quickly that can be done; the family are in contact with the embassy in Bangkok where staff are providing consular assistance.
But even when their father is back on British soil, the daughters will still face the daunting cost of funding a funeral they never expected.
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