A NURSE stranded in Barbados after contracting coronavirus while on a 60th birthday trip says he has been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

More than 100 people offered Mike Delaney free accommodation to recuperate in while he tries to organise a flight home.

Mike, a clinical director at Delamere rehab clinic in Cuddington, visited the Caribbean island in March before any travel restrictions were imposed, and intended to stay for two weeks.

However, after becoming unwell soon after his arrival, he was diagnosed with coronavirus and was taken to a makeshift hospital at a Barbados military base.

Fortunately, his symptoms were relatively mild, but it still took three weeks for the virus to clear from his system.

Mike didn’t know where he would stay on discharge or when or how he would be able to get home, but the mother of a fellow patient put a call out for help on Facebook and more than 100 people responded.

“It’s beautiful and makes the trauma of incarceration fade quicker,” Mike said.

Northwich Guardian:

Mike Delaney during his stay at a makeshift coronavirus hospital in Barbados

“I cannot believe how lovely everyone has been, and the medical staff and authorities here have been amazing.

“There were times in the hospital that were quite traumatic, as I saw lots of people who were very ill, lots of tears, fear and heard screams.

“There was a gentleman in our group, who was maybe 70 and seemed fine, then suddenly started coughing again and by the evening, he was really bad and died overnight.

“It was as quick as that and quite a shock to us. It was another reminder about how strong this illness is and the fact that if it wants to take you, it will.”

Mike went on to say: “I was in such a precarious position, but everyone has just rallied around me.

“I’ve been given this beautiful beachfront apartment to stay in, then somebody who runs a local shop arrived and filled my fridge.

“It was unbelievable. I started crying. I cannot believe how kind people have been.”

Mike is a former psychiatric nurse who retrained to become a respected addiction specialist after overcoming prescription and alcohol dependency issues himself.

Northwich Guardian:

Mike is doing much better now, but still tires quickly

And he has since started working again offering remote consultations and supervision, despite tiring quickly.

“I’ve had a lot of support from my colleagues at Delamere, which has remained open to help people throughout all of this,” he added.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back and being part of the team again.

“I think I can ‘suffer’ this for another couple of weeks as I’m lucky to be here and lucky to be alive. I’m so grateful to everyone.”

Mike, who is originally from North Lanarkshire in Scotland, is in daily contact with the British Embassy but it is not yet clear when a flight home will be available.

Barbados is in strict lockdown to protect its small island community and residents are only allowed out on allocated days to go to the supermarket and chemist.

Mike will celebrate his 60th birthday tomorrow, Thursday, and was planning on having a large party before coronavirus hit, but now expects he’ll still be alone in Barbados.