Iain O’Brien, the former New Zealand fast bowler, has launched a funding page in a bid to return to his family.
O’Brien, who now lives with his wife and two daughters near Matlock in England, was visiting his parents in New Zealand when the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic struck.
While he has already booked three flights home – some of them eye-wateringly expensive – the airlines subsequently cancelled. The delay in refunding the cost of such bookings has eaten deep into O’Brien’s resources.
With infection control also limiting his options for work – he had hoped to raise the funds by picking fruit or as a delivery driver – he has turned to the funding page as a possible solution. With flights now scarce, he is aiming for one costing £2,250 and leaving New Zealand on April 5.
His desperation to return home has been exacerbated by concern for his family’s health. His wife suffers from a lung condition which places her in the category of people especially vulnerable to COVID-19. “This virus could kill her,” he has written on his PayPal page. “I need to get back ASAP to help her out and keep her safe.”
O’Brien knows he will need to undergo a period of isolation when he arrives home – he is intending to stay in a camper van outside his home – but hopes he will then be able to take care of his family’s need for shopping and save his wife any unnecessary exposure. His wife is British and he has residency status.
He is offering, where practical, to repay donors by offering coaching tips or some of his experiences in the game. “If anyone would love a 20 min Skype/vid call,” he wrote, “one on one, talk about all things cricket, politics, sausages, mental health, Sachin, etc… If you’d like that & can spare a couple of $£, message me and we can work out a time.
“Please, only if you can, and allow me to give you something in return.”