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Appeal to fly balcony fall woman home raises £73k

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The family of a woman who fell from a second-floor balcony while on holiday in Thailand have raised more than £73,000 to bring her back to the UK.

Maddi Neale-Shankster, 21, of Coventry, was paralysed from the waist down, after the accident on New Year's Eve.

A GoFundMe appeal was launched after her family discovered her travel insurance did not cover the cost of bringing her home safely.

The Foreign Office said it was providing assistance.

Donations have reached the £73,500 target Ms Neale-Shankster's family said would cover medical costs and her journey back to the UK with a specialist team.

Her mother, Karen Moseley-Neale, said: "Before the accident, I was on Facetime to Maddi. An hour later we got a phone call from her partner and all I can hear is Maddi screaming in the background and the sirens blaring."

The beauty therapist, from Holbrooks, was on holiday on the island of Koh Phangan with her partner and friends.

Fearing their daughter would never walk again, Ms Moseley-Neale and father Jamie Shankster flew to Thailand to meet with doctors and people from the British Embassy.

The 21-year-old's mother said her daughter had suffered a broken back, two collapsed lungs and her ribs had pierced her liver after the fall, but her condition had improved significantly following back surgery.

"She's really well in herself, she's sitting up, she's certainly found her sense of humour. She's actually lucky to be here only for the grace of God and the surgeons."

Ms Moseley-Neale urged anyone travelling abroad to check their insurance cover carefully.

"She took holiday insurance while in Thailand for 10,000 baht (£247). She thought it was £10,000... I'd hate for anybody to be in this position."

Ms Neale-Shankster's family have thanked more than 1,400 people who have donated to the online appeal.

She said: "We can't thank everyone enough for their generosity, well wishes and support. We are eternally grateful."

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