WELL-wishers have raised hundreds of pounds to help bring a poorly great-grandmother home to East Lancashire from Portugal.

The family of Doreen Blackburn, 78, from Burnley, launched a campaign to raise £12,000 to pay for an air ambulance to bring her back to Britain after she suffered two strokes in Albufeira.

More than £500 has been raised since the campaign went live on Saturday, and a fundraising event will be held in Clayton-le-Moors, her family said.

Daughter Sharon Borrowdale, 53, said: “We’ve had brilliant feedback. We had more than £200 pledged in the first six hours.

“My daughter and niece set up the website and it hit £500 by Saturday morning. That’s without the people who pledged donations. We are overwhelmed. We can’t believe the generosity.”

Daughter-in-law Pamela Blackburn said: “We have people ringing up to offer help or to donate. The response has been amazing. There’s a real sense of community spirit.

"We do really appreciate people’s help, and every day we seem to be a step nearer bringing her home.”

Mrs Blackburn, who beat lung cancer six years ago, cannot walk or feel down her left side following the double stroke in November.

She moved to Sao Joao, Albufeira, 15 years ago to retire with her husband of 58 years, Maurice, 78. The couple used to run the Moorgate Arms and King’s Head pubs in Blackburn.

Doctors at the Red Cross rehabilitation centre in Tavira warned Mrs Blackburn’s family that she faced ‘serious risks’ if she tried to travel on a normal flight, so a specially-equipped air ambulance, which flies at low altitude, was required.

But the family was struggling to meet the £12,000 fee. Now a fundraising day will be held at Joseph Lanzante Training Academy, in Walmesley Court, Clayton-le-Moors on Sunday, from 1pm to 5pm.

There will be a raffle and sponsored events such as head-shaving.

And on Saturday, C&A 4x4 Car Wash, in Norfolk Street, Colne, will be washing cars for £5 between 9.30am and 12.30pm, with all proceeds going to the Bring Doreen Home fund.

To donate online, visit www. justgiving.com/yimby/bring doreenhome, or to host a fundraising event, call the family on 01282 861503, or 01282 866748.

Follow the family’s campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/helpgetdoreenhome.