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Gloucester man stranded in Morocco by insurers after heart attack

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

Vaughan Matthews and Jo Baldwin

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STRANDED Vaughan Matthews should be celebrating his 47th birthday at home in Gloucester today.

Instead he and his girlfriend Jo Baldwin are trapped in Morocco after he suffered a heart attack while on holiday there.

Vaughan, a helicopter engineer from Abbeydale, saw travel insurers Santander stall on paying out the £25,000 needed to get him back home by air ambulance, but it looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

It is now looking like an air ambulance will get the pair home on Friday if all goes to plan.

Jo, 40, is by Vaughan's bedside in a Moroccan hospital.

She said: "We are just stuck out here. We don't know what to do and we don't have any answers.

"Vaughan is stable but he's not well and the doctors say he needs to go back into hospital.

"He has three kids and I have four and they are all worried sick for us. Both of our families just want us to come home.

"He has never taken a day off work in his life and when we need help, we have been left stranded."

Miss Baldwin's worried step-dad Pete Barnes, of Reservoir Road in Abbeydale, says he just wants the pair home for the sake of Jo's 12-year-old daughter Emma, who he had been looking after for the week.

Mr Barnes said: "They flew out last Tuesday and that night Vaughan had a heart attack. He's spent the whole holiday in hospital and they should have been back by now. Jo has been texting Emma but we just want them back home now.

"I don't know what she has told Emma but she has handled it very well.

"When we asked her how she was feeling, she seemed more concerned about her library books, but I'm sure Jo doesn't want to worry her about it all."

The couple's dream holiday had been due to start on Tuesday, November 13 when they flew out.

But later that evening Mr Matthews, who is a keen cyclist, collapsed.

No one from Santander was available to comment at the time of going to press.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 22 2012, 8:09PM

    QwertyOS - you can't be too careful - with the pages and pages and the killer clauses hidden in between other irrelevant details most don't care about. I missed a flight due to traffic coming to a standstill for over 2 hours on the M40 - and my claim for reimbursement of the costs involved to re-book was rejected as I was travelling on a personal car - not public transport. Quite apart from previous health conditions, check also duration of travel for each trip on an annual policy, this is more relevant to older folk. Assume Mr Matthews will go through his policy with a fine toothcomb and take the matter to the Small-Claims court, if the cost/inconvenient/ uncertainty were beyond reason, go to a higher court - there must be no-win, no-fee merchants ready to take the insurance Co on. Buyer Beware.

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  • ALMatthews  |  November 22 2012, 7:36PM

    Santander are not the Insurance company that have refused to stand the cost for Vaughan and Jo return infact they are the ones helping them. Luckiliy Vaughan has extra Insurance cover with his main bank account with Santander and they are the ones arranging for their safe return. Once they have returned the Citizen will do a follow up story naming and shaming the Insurance company that have refused to arrange their safe return

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  • QwertyOS  |  November 22 2012, 11:03AM

    Like most people reading this, I have taken out travel insurance, on line and over the phone. Each time I presume myself and my family are FULLY covered, and the small print only concerns previous medical conditions, dangerous sports etc. This could happen to anyone. As a frequent traveller, I have decided to look at the small print of my yearly insurance, and indeed there are several ``fine points`` that need to be clarified. Had I not read this article I would have been none the wiser. I hope Mr. Mathews gets home soon and makes a full recovery.

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  November 22 2012, 10:43AM

    Bonkim2003..................the fact that Santander is named, that they stalled on making the payment, and the fact that it looks likely the trip will take place soon, surely points to the fact that they did their bit by taking out insurance. Once money changes hand, they should meet the requirements of the client, end of. However, I really would question the fact that it costs £25k for a three hour trip, granted they need a medic on board, but hey, I'm definitely in the wrong job!

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 22 2012, 7:46AM

    Those who take out holiday insurance - read the fine print.

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