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Aid worker John Murphy is back home in quarantine after a COVID-19 mercy mission to virus stricken Italy.
John, who lives in Taynuilt, spent two weeks volunteering with Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse helping run a 68-bed field hospital in Cremona, Northern Italy.
Tired but feeling well, John is asking people to keep up prayers for his co-workers still in Italy and at hospital in Central Park, New York.
And he is urging people to dig deep if they can and make a donation towards the much-needed work.
John, a self-employed maintenance man, will have to keep taking his temperature until he is out of quarantine, reporting it into the international relief charity’s HQ to be monitored until he gets the all clear.
He said: ‘It was very strange and eerie to be out there, in the middle of a city that was like a ghost town apart from when you heard an ambulance screaming through.
‘We stayed in a hotel. There was about 60 of us from the hospital working 12-hour day and night shifts, just going backwards and forwards to work then sleep. It was an overwhelming experience, not just the work but the kindness and generosity we were shown by people.
‘People would send us baking. One man heard we were cold and went out and bought us coats. Another man who helped was a pizza chef who could not work at his restaurant so came to work in our hotel and served us food.’
John, who has travelled to numerous disaster zones with the charity, added: ‘Because of what I do, people expect me to see the worst of the world, but I see the best of the world too when people step up and want to help others.’
In one week, the hospital where John was based got five people off ventilators.
‘The day before I left, we got to wave goodbye to a patient who got off ventilation – it was an amazing feat.
‘We need donations to keep up this work. Some people see danger and run away from it, but our volunteers run towards it to help others.
‘I’d also ask for peoples’ prayers to protect our staff and volunteers. They are wonderful people, so caring, who are putting themselves at risk for the sake of healing others.’
To make a donation go to www.samaritans-purse.org.uk