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This news is translated from the Spanish Press unless otherwise indicated.

Paralysed expat appeals for help to return to the UK

A family in the UK is applealing for help so they can fly a Rotherham granddad - left paralysed after a freak accident on Fuerteventura - back from the Canary Islands.
Sixty-three years old Steven Griffiths suffered a broken neck after the accident last November and has been in hospital in Gran Canaria ever since. After two operations he is still unable to move or feel anything from the neck down.

Now his distraught family in Rotherham are desperate to bring him back to England where the grandfather of four would be transferred to the specialist Spinal Unit at Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital.

Medi Aviation, a York-based medical repatriation company, which specialises in cases like these, have agreed to help the family and is working with them to help raise funds to bring him back home. However, the family are struggling to raise the £22,000 needed to get him home as the they don't hold sufficient medical insurance to fly him back to Britain.

Son-in-law Richard Bramall of Rawmarsh, Rotherham described it as "nightmare situation". He said:

"It's nearly three months since the accident and we just want to get Steve back home to get specialist care. It was a freak accident that has resulted in horrific consequences. Steve was simply helping someone in a wheelchair down two steps when he tripped and broke a bone in his back. Ironically, the accident happened on the same set of steps where the lady in the wheelchair had suffered a similar accident a fortnight previously."

"My in-laws spend several months each year in Fuerteventura and thought they were covered insurance-wise. But one good deed has revealed they were not covered for specialist flights home. My mother-in-law, Roslyn, is obviously still out there in Fuerteventura and is making the trip to Gran Canaria to see Steve every two days. But money is running low and she fears that she will have to return to her home in the next couple of weeks - leaving her seriously-injured husband alone in a far-off country.

"This has been heart-breaking for the family because we feel so useless being so many miles away. We would advise anyone travelling or living abroad to check their insurance cover in fine detail because we would hate anyone to go through what we are going through at the moment."

Fundraising is now underway with a vengeance – Sheffield Steelers have given their support to the campaign and are holding a bucket collection at their game against Nottingham Panthers on 14th February but more needs to be done.

If you would like to contribute or help in any way please contact Richard Bramall on 07878259555 or visit website to make a donation.

FEAGA cancelled for 2009

The annual agricultural fair, FEAGA, held oin Los Pozos, will probably be cancelled for 2009. This event is traditionally held in April and is a showcase for the island's agricultural produce a nd farm animals. However the economic crisis has led to the Cabildo cutting budgets and pulling funding from local cultural events such as the FEAGA. It is possible that, like FuerteMusica, the concert held in El Cotillo, the fair may still be held but with funding from private sources instead.

Fishing boats grounded by strong waves

The fishing fleets of  Morra Jable and Ajuy, in the south of Fuerteventura, will remain moored and will not be able to work till the strong surges affecting the island die down. The fishermen have been warned not to go to sea. On the coast the waves are spectacular and are over six meters high. The commercial ports of Puerto del Rosario, Corralejo and Gran Tarajal are operating without problems. To avoid possible accidents, the Local Police of Pájara have cordoned off the entrance to the caves at Ajuy, that are closed due to the strong surge.

Murder charges dropped against uncle

Ivan Perez Gonzalez, who was charged with the death of a baby in Fuerteventura during the trial that was being held against the child's mother and her partner. Iván González, brother of the mother of the baby, has been released after giving evidence. The judge has not taken precautionary measures against the accused and has called for a forensic report to see if there are compatible injuries suffered by the baby, to match with Ivan's version of events. But the court kept the charges against the mother for murder and abuse, and against her partner for the same crimes, although as a case of murder by omission. After Ivans self confession, the couple accused of killing the child, who allegedly suffered continual abuse, were released on the first day of the trial. After the death of the baby the body was examined and bruises were found on various parts of the body, there were several broken ribs and other signs of abuse. At the start of the trial both denied having hurt the child.

The end of overhead cables?

The Cabildo of Fuerteventura and Telefónica are working on an agreement to eliminate telegraph poles and overhead lines. From now on all new lines must be buried underground, and the old ones buried over a period of time. Thus generating a more beatutiful and environmental Island.

Pajara targets tourists from the peninsular

The City Council of Pájara (Fuerteventura) has decided to attract more visitors to the Canary Islands and has signed a collaboration agreement with a Group of Independent Travel Agents in Andorra, Spain and Portugal (GEA). In this regard, the councilman of Pájara Tourism, Blas Acosta, stressed at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) the importance of the agreement with GEA, which includes about 2,000 retailers. Acosta emphasized the need for more emphasis on Fuerteventura as a destination for tourists from Spain, Andorra and Portugal.

Missing woman found drowned

The body of the woman who went missing whilst "swimming" off Lanzarote was found 5 miles from Toston Point, in Fuerteventura. Apparently the woman, of Chinese descent, was washed into the sea by a high wave whilst out celebrating the Chinese New Year with her husband and son. The family live in Yaiza, Playa Blanca.

Kiss Flights start Fuerteventura routes

Kiss flights will start flying to Fuerteventura from 1/4/09. No, this is not an April fool! There will be two routes, one from Gatwick and another from Manchester. The times of the Gatwick flights are not the most convenient, with the outbound leaving at 6am and the return arriving at 2am, but the Manchester times are much more amenable. Looking at their website, prices at off peak times will be around 180 pounds return soaring to around 300 pounds during holiday periods. This at least gives people another choice in getting too and from the island. Take a look at their website for more information.

Lifeguards provided with new life saving equipment

Thirty four defibrillators have been strategically placed around the Canaries after a new initiative for rapid response in hot spots.

One of the seventeen in the province of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which encompasses the islands of Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, has already been used in a life saving operation in Playa del Ingles. The devices were installed in October and as 2009 begins, a Dutch man is grateful that the Ministry of Health and the Canarian Emergency Service made the decision to place one at the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) station near anexo II.

Life saving
A fifty four year old man was found to be unconscious and in cardiac arrest. He was not responding to the health professionals so the ambulance crew requested the semi automatic defibrillator be brought to them. After he regained consciousness, he was transferred to the new hospital, San Roque Meloneras, in a critical condition, where he was stabilised. The installation of defibrillators is part of a Europe-wide program which is developing technologies for emergency medicine. The device which was used to successfully save the life of this man is small and light, making it portable. The incident was the first time that it has been operational; one of the two hundred qualified practitioners in the Canary Islands performed the electric shocks twice to save his life.

The emergency number in the Canaries is 112

Local Estate Agent dies

The owner of Sunway Estate Agents, Mr Barry MacDonald passed away on the 15th January. With well-established offices in Tenerife and Fuerteventura, Barry was one of the most respected businessmen in the Canarian property market, having successfully run his company for over 25 years. Barry’s daughter Sarah has now taken over the company and the future can only be described as exciting, as she carries on this legacy of success for many years to come.

Fuertenews is a free publication bringing you news and views about Fuerteventura. Any donations would be welcome.