Mark Jepson, a survivor of a harrowing motorbike accident on the Greek island of Zante earlier this year, and his wife Carol, have generously donated £6,640 to Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).
The couple’s compelling story gained widespread attention when their holiday insurance failed to cover their medical fees and additional accommodation and travel expenses, leaving them stranded in Greece, whilst Mark had sustained life-threatening injuries.
The couple from Leeds were on holidaying in Zante in July of this year and decided to hire a scooter to explore the island, driving around the mountain routes and other tourist attractions. Despite having over 40 years of experience in the saddle, acquiring his motorbike licence in 1983, an unexpected accident occurred whilst manoeuvring a bend at 20mph, tossing the couple into the middle of the road and leaving Mark with serious injuries.
Recalling the accident, Mark said, “We were driving away from this monastery and after about half a kilometre we were going round this sweeping bend and because I’m used to riding bikes, I’m always looking for potholes and hazards. I didn’t see anything but suddenly the front end tucked, and we were off in a matter of milliseconds. It was surreal.”
The crash left Mark with life-threatening injuries, including broken ribs, a fractured scapula, and a punctured lung, leading to subcutaneous emphysema. Fortunately, Carol sustained comparatively minor injuries.
Two American travellers, both healthcare professionals, found the couple at the side of the road and offered them help, transporting them in their hire car to a local hospital, 35 minutes away, ensuring Mark received the critical care he urgently needed.
Doctors at the Greek hospital recommended that the couple approach their insurance company to arrange medical repatriation back to the UK. However, the couple were shocked to learn that their insurance was void, following a clause on page 81 of their insurance policy, explaining they were only insured to ride a 125cc bike, unlike the 200cc bike they had hired during their trip. Subsequently, their appeal was declined.
Despite Mark’s medical expenses being covered by his GHIC card, the couple encountered substantial costs for Carol’s accommodation, food, travel to and from the hospital, as well as their return flights to the UK. These encompassed arrangements made by a repatriation company for an ICU nurse to ensure Mark’s safe journey home. Consequently, they resorted to crowdfunding through GoFundMe, seeking public support to manage these expenses.
Regional and national news outlets reported on the Jepsons ordeal, which saw an outpouring of support, raising an astonishing £22,455.
The pair returned to the UK on August 25th and grateful for the support they had received decided to donate the remaining funds – £6,500 – to Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Mark said, “We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of people who supported us during this difficult time. Yorkshire Air Ambulance plays a crucial role in saving lives, and we wanted to express our gratitude by donating the remaining funds from the campaign. It’s our way of giving back and helping others who might find themselves in similar circumstances. We are thankful for the support we received and glad to contribute to such a vital cause.”
On the 30th of November, the couple visited the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Nostell Air Base in Wakefield to present the crew with a cheque for the funds they had donated, thanking them for their work across the region.
Critical Care HEMS Paramedic, Stewart Ashburner-Mcmanus, who was pleased to meet the couple at the Air Support Unit said, “It has been a pleasure to meet Mark and Carol and learn more about their story, I am pleased to hear that Mark has made a full recovery as it sounds like he was in some serious trouble at the time of the accident.
On behalf of everyone at Yorkshire Air Ambulance, I want to thank Mark and Carol for their generous support and for thinking of us when considering making such a large donation. Their contribution will help us to sustain our lifesaving mission and continue to help people in Yorkshire who find themselves in similar situations to Mark, ensuring they get the treatment they need as soon as possible.”
Mark and Carol are committed to raising awareness about the often-overlooked loopholes present in holiday insurance policies, emphasising the importance of thoroughly reviewing insurance documents to ensure adequate coverage while traveling.
As part of their mission, they are scheduled to appear on the upcoming series of ‘Rip Off Britain’ on BBC in January, with the goal of preventing others from encountering similar circumstances to theirs by promoting awareness and understanding of insurance policies.