A FAMILY is celebrating after an appeal to bring a Burnley grandmother home from Portugal reached its £12,000 fundraising target.

Doreen Blackburn, 78, suffered two strokes in Albufeira before Christmas and has been recovering in a Red Cross rehabilitation centre after leaving hospital.

Her daughter, Sharon Borrowdale, 53, said she was ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the support of the East Lancashire community.

Doreen was unable to afford travel insurance following a previous battle with cancer, forcing her family in Burnley and Pendle to raise the funds needed to book a specially-equipped air ambulance to fly her, and her husband, Maurice, 78, back to the UK.

Since the Lancashire Telegraph first told Doreen’s story on February 20, donations have flooded in to the family from around the world. Mrs Borrowdale, of Grassington Avenue, Briercliffe, said yesterday: “We have hit the target.

“It’s absolutely wonderful news.

“We as a family cannot quite believe it just yet.

“What an emotional day this has been.

“I’m speechless.

“I’ve had anonymous donations posted through the door.

“I’ve updated my dad last night on what’s been going on and he was himself overwhelmed.”

The family hope to finalise plans to bring Doreen home by Sunday.

Doreen, a retired nurse, and Maurice lived in Harle Syke before moving to Albufeira in 1998, while the couple also ran the Moorgate Arms and King’s Head pubs in Blackburn in the 1990s.