A woman left fighting for her life after a 15 stone gas canister fell on her face during a freak accident in Greece is set to return to Doncaster tomorrow to continue her treatment.
When ‘lovely’ Laurie Jay Balfour sustained serious brain injuries and fell into a coma after a gas cannister perched on a bar in Zante became dislodged and fell on her as she was ‘dancing the night away’ the 24-year-old’s devastated loved ones did not know whether she would be able to pull through.
But despite the odds, Lauries has taken incredible strides in her recovery and is set to return to Doncaster tomorrow - after spending just over a month in hospital in Athens.
Laurie is due to fly into Manchester Airport and from there she will be taken straight to Doncaster Royal Infirmary - along with her parents Deana and Philip, who have been by her side throughout.
Her friend Laura Tomlinson, who is one of many across the borough who have helped to raise thousands for a recovery fund for Laurie, says it will mean ‘the world to everyone’ to know she is back in her home town.
“Everyone’s so happy to know she’ll be back in Doncaster,” said Laura of Laburnum Avenue, Moorends.
The 27-year-old added: “She’s still got a long way to go in her recovery, but at least she’ll be back in Doncaster and there won’t be that language barrier between the doctors and Laurie and her family anymore.
“Her parents don’t want her to be overwhelmed by the number of people - because there’s a lot that want to see her - so I think they’re going to limit it to two visitors a day.
“She’s not on life support anymore, she’s talking, she’s feeding herself but I don’t think she quite understands how serious the accident was.”
A fundraiser in aid of Laurie and anything she may need during her recovery was held on Sunday and attracted hundreds of people.
It was held at the Wheatley Hills Rugby club and managed to raise just under £6,000 with attractions on the day including a tombola, a raffle, a sports day and wide range of stalls and attractions.
Gary ‘Gaz’ Beadle of Geordie Shore fame, who paid for Laurie’s parents accommodation in Greece after learning of her accident, also made an appearance at the fundraiser.
Laura added: “Gaz was great, he just came to show his face, meet everyone and have a drink.
“It was a great day, very typically British weather with both rain and sunshine, but yeah it was incredible.
“We can’t get over all of the support. It’s gone so far. People who have never even met Laurie came and were pitching in.
“It’s really restored our faith in humanity that people can care so much, and want to help like that.
“Laurie’s such a lovely down to earth person and I think she’ll be taken aback - just like her parents have been - when she realises how many people have donated and fundraised for her.
“But I’m in no doubt that if it was the other way round Laurie would be doing the exact same thing, she’s a really generous person.”
Money is also due to be raised for Laurie’s recovery fund at a St Leger preview dinner at the Crown Hotel in Bawtry tonight as part of their annual event to mark the beginning the historic festival.
A charity football match in aid of Laurie is also set to be held at the Conyers in Conisborough from 3pm on Sunday.