Campaign to fly ‘Arsenal John’ home after ‘devastating’ injuries in Crete collision
PUBLISHED: 19:19 14 February 2019
The family of a Highbury man who suffered “severe spinal injuries” after his car flipped over in Crete are fundraising to fly him back to England for specialist care.
John Buckle, or “Arsenal John” to friends, 75, is unable to breath without a ventilator and has suffered a spinal injury causing him to “lose control of his legs and arms”.
His brother, Robert, has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise £32,500 so they can fly John back to England in the hope he can make a “meaningful recovery”.
“John has always lived for the moment,” Raymond, 73, told the Gazette.
“His personality is so that he makes friends wherever he goes and is always the life and soul of the party.
“He’s a lively character, an affable personality and an ardent Arsenal fan, which caused fights in our house when we were younger because I support Spurs.”
John’s in intensive care at Rethymno General Hospital, which his family say lacks the specialist facilities to aid his recover.
The closest place he can get proper care is an airlift away in mainland Greece, where his weekly costs are estimated as up to “£2,000 per week”.
John’s British pension doesn’t cover that. And his family and friends afford to fly him home.
“He really would do anything for anyone,” said John. “It certainly makes us realise the advantage we have in having the National Health Service in England.”
The two brothers grew up in St Paul’s Road before John got married and moved to Seven Sisters Road in 1969.
Robert said the eventual breakdown of John’s marriage is one reason he expatriated to Crete in his later years.
Carole Forde, a friend of John’s, told the Gazette: “It was really shocking [when the accident happened] because we had been with him a couple of hours before.
“It would mean a great deal if we could get him back [to the UK] because the treatment he needs just isn’t available here.
“They can’t do anymore because they don’t have the resources for him here and he may die, as the only treatment he’s getting is to keep him alive and that’s just shocking and upsetting.
“He was not a young man, he was not a attractive person, he didn’t do anything famous so he isn’t attracting any attention. He just needs help.”
You can view the crowdfunding page here.