A blind Dundee man stuck abroad for five months has thanked all those who helped him after finally making it home.
Willie Tanner, 62, originally flew out to Lanzarote in early March for a three-week holiday but was left stranded when the Covid-19 pandemic hit near the end of his trip.
The former bank worker had to battle through red tape to obtain life-saving medication and feared he had done lasting damage after a serious fall.
Despite the traumatic experiences though, the avid Dundee FC fan arrived home in Broughty Ferry safe and well on Friday night.
He said the last five months of his life have felt “very different to a holiday”.
Happy-go-lucky Willie said: “There are worse places to be stuck of course and the weather has mostly been incredible.
“For a while though, I was really worried. I dread to think what might have happened if I didn’t get my meds.
“It has been a strange experience. Practically everywhere was shut and there was nothing to do.
“I was alone out here for a long time, although I did manage to make friends with locals and some other foreigners.
“The help from The Courier, the British Consulate in Gran Canaria, the local pharmacist, and my friends, including Malcolm Brebner, has been amazing.”
The initial shock when lockdown hit was tempered by an understanding hotel owner, whom Willie knew from regular visits and allowed him to stay for as long as he needed.
Though safe, he watched his medication supply quickly dwindle and began to worry he could suffer a repeat aneurysm, the first of which several years ago left him with hemianopia.
The condition means he sees blurry shapes within 50 yards but does maintain good long-distance vision.
He can still travel independently but it can be very stressful if the journey is complicated or one he has not completed before.
This meant any route home other than direct to Edinburgh was off-the-table.
Even the flights that were arranged were all subsequently cancelled.
But when The Courier appealed to the UK Foreign Office for help, Willie was able to secure the 12 pills a day he needed and declared he felt like he’d “won the lottery”.
He hunkered down for the long-haul in the Spanish Canaries and got to know locals, including police enforcing an extremely strict lockdown.
It wasn’t all plain sailing from then though, as Willie came close to suffering a serious head injury.
“I slipped getting into the hotel pool a few weeks ago and cracked my head,” he said.
“With my condition, it was really frightening. I took an extra dose of my pills, which stop bleeding on the brain, straight after and thankfully there has been no effect from it.
“I’ll need to get an X-ray when I can get to the hospital. The last few months have really made me appreciate the NHS.”
Despite arriving back in Caledonia, life can’t yet return to any kind of normality until Willie hunkers down for a further two weeks of quarantine.
He added: “That was the most time I have ever spent outside the UK in my life. I’ve never had a tan like this before.
“It will be great to see my friends and family, including my son. I’ll miss the weather but I’m glad to be home.”