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A dream cruise turned into a nightmare for one couple, but the people of Inverness provided a silver lining


By Imogen James

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John and Susan Brown with their grandson who lives in America.
John and Susan Brown with their grandson who lives in America.

JOHN and Susan Brown from Hertfordshire joined a Viking Cruise in Bergen which docked in Invergordon on July 4.

The couple, who are in their mid-70s, boarded a coach tour which dropped them off at Inverness Cathedral where they enjoyed a cake at the cathedral café.

However, the trip took a turn when they left the café as Mrs Brown fell over and hit her right temple on the pavement.

Rushed to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, the couple waited in an ambulance for three hours for an A&E bed to become free.

Mr Brown said that the care he received from the paramedics in this time was compassionate, and that he had never experienced this before in a medical team.

With a severe brain bleed, Mrs Brown was then transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where she remains.

Mr Brown spoke of the worrying time: “We undertook a blue-light emergency run across pot hole roads and road works for some two hours and 15 minutes.

"All the time the medics inside the ambulance were remaining upbeat and positive even though it was 2am.

“Yes, you could say they were doing their job but the compassion they showed my wife and I exceeded all expectations. I am doing this so people know there is good all around us and especially in Inverness.”

However, this was not the end of the awful story as Mr Brown then realised he only had a £10 note on him, with the rest of their belongings, including credit card, left on the ship.

In another random act of kindness, a doctor sent someone to get a significant amount of cash for the couple so they would have some funds while in Aberdeen.

An Inverness taxi driver then drove for eight hours to pick up their luggage from Ullapool and deliver the baggage to Aberdeen and refused compensation from Mr Brown.

Overwhelmed with the kindness, Mr Brown wanted to share his story so “the people of Inverness know the caring, compassionate people they have in their community”.

He continued: “The national news is filled with such negative stories these days, we need to stand up and talk about the positive ones. Honour those who step forward when action is needed and for us to say a big thank you.

“My wife is now in stable condition. She has had two cranial operations to remove blood clots and one interventional procedure to prevent clots getting into the brain.

“Fingers crossed she is going in the right direction thanks to the special people of Inverness.”


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