Hurt Morpeth teacher to return to UK

Following a fantastic response to a fundraising appeal launched to help a Morpeth woman after she broke her back during a balcony fall in Thailand, her family have announced that she is set to come home soon.

By Andrew Coulson
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 8:00 am
Jill Dodds with her mum Susan, sisters Katie and Nicola and Katie’s youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019.
Jill Dodds with her mum Susan, sisters Katie and Nicola and Katie’s youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019.

Jill Dodds suffered serious spinal injuries, including a crushed vertebrae, last month when a 20ft high balcony she had been standing on suddenly gave way.

The 47-year-old has since then been recovering at the Koi Samui hospital in Nathon, whilst her family and friends launched a fundraising campaign to help with hospital bills and bring her home for further treatment and rehabilitation – the total is now more than £36,500.

Updates are being posted on the fundraising website and on Tuesday, Jill’s sister Katie Breeze said a repatriation team of three from AALS Medical Services that they have hired were flying out to Thailand yesterday (Wednesday) and will spend a week in the country to comply with its Covid-19 rules at the moment.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Presuming that there are no significant delays with the funds being released, “she should be leaving Thailand on January 29”.

In previous updates, both the family and Jill in a video message have thanked everyone who has donated to the appeal and those who have also organised separate fundraising.

Speaking to the Gazette this week, Katie said: “There is relief all round that Jill will be coming home soon as it will be a lot easier for her to be looked after in the UK.

“She will go to a specialist spinal facility at a hospital in the North East to continue her recovery.

“Physically, she is making good progress and she was able to wiggle one of her toes last week.

“In fact, the thing she is most concerned about at the moment is being able to get the dogs she has in Thailand over to the UK.

“We would like to thank AALS Medical Services. They have been brilliant.”

Disaster struck on December 18 when the teacher was with some friends and colleagues at an end-of-term party, leaning on a fence with a friend to take a selfie when it gave way, with both plunging to the ground.

Her friend suffered a broken collarbone, while Jill was rushed to hospital where she had an operation to place metal rods in her spine.