Mark could be home by end of the month as fund hits £45,000

Mark with his mum Julie and girlfriend Caro van Laak
Mark with his mum Julie and girlfriend Caro van Laak
Share this article

MARK Middlehurst could be home by the end of the month thanks to the generosity of everyone who has donated to his family’s appeal.

The 28-year-old is almost strong enough to make the journey home after having surgery to reattach part of his skull that had been removed due the amount of swelling on his brain following a quad bike accident in November.

Mark, of School Lane, Billinge, has been in hospital in Perth ever since but the surgery went well and he has since had his tracheostomy removed meaning his parents Julie and Malcolm have been able to take him out of the hospital for the first time.

Family friend Paul Darbyshire, who along with his wife Sue has organised a campaign to raise the £50,000 needed to cover the cost of flying Mark home with a full medical team, said Mark’s condition was improving.

He said: “He is doing things like scratching his beard and his head which is encouraging because he is showing signs of responding to things like an itch.

“We are aiming for February 26 to fly Mark home. Nothing is confirmed yet but that we are aiming for around then at the moment.

“The fundraising has been amazing, we’ve got around £45,000 at the moment and a businessman has come forward and said he will donate any extra we need to fly Mark home.

“We have been overwhelmed with how generous everyone has been. Even the local schools have got involved and raised around £1,400.

“St Aidan’s and St Mary’s both held non-uniform days which raised around £600 altogether and Billinge Chapel End held a coin trail and raised £800. It was amazing, all the pupils came along with their piggy banks. It has been amazing.”

The extent of the damage done to Mark’s brain is still unknown but his family hope bringing him home will help his recovery. They are hoping he will be treated at The Walton Centre on his return to the UK.

There are several fundraising events coming up including a Ladies Night, a children’s fun day and a golf day.

The Ladies Night is being held at Billinge Chapel End Labour Club on February 12 at 8pm and the children’s party on February 14 at 2pm at Billinge Soccer Centre.

The golf day is being sponsored by O2 Rainford and is being held at Houghwood Golf Course on April 7. Tickets are £50 each including breakfast, the competition, dinner and snacks throughout the day.

“We are hopeful that Julie and Malcolm will be able to join us then,” said Paul.

“Julie was talking to Mark the other day and showing him a sort of poster they have made him of all of his friends and family and Mark put his hand out as if to touch it.

“It is a good sign but it is upsetting for Julie and Malc because it seems like he can see, hear and understand them but he can’t respond.”

To buy tickets call Paul on 07790 654608 or visit to donate.