Good Samaritans bring Christmas cheer to children stranded in NZ after mother’s death



December 21, 2018 21:08:26

What started as the “holiday of a lifetime” to New Zealand for two English children turned into a nightmare when their mother was killed in a car accident — and now they are stuck in the county over Christmas as their other mother recovers from her injuries.

Key points:

  • Jules Sargent cannot return to England while she recovers from a car crash in New Zealand
  • Her wife and mother of their two children, Ben and Olivia, died in the same accident
  • People are now fundraising to create “magical moments” for the traumatised children

Kerry Sargent, 42, was killed in a head-on collision near the city of Whangarei, north of Auckland, in late October that also left 65-year-old Mary Peneamena dead, according to local media reports.

Her wife, Jules Sargent, sustained life-threatening injuries in the “horrific” crash that reportedly occurred when a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction crossed onto the wrong side of the road. Their two children, Ben and Olivia, were not seriously injured.

But the 49-year-old is still recovering in a Whangarei hospital and remains too badly injured to travel home to Gloucester, leaving the “traumatised” children thousands of kilometres from home this Christmas, according to the family’s hometown newspaper GloucestershireLive.

A GoFundMe page set up by a friend of the family, Alan York, is fundraising to create “magical moments” for the children that “provide light in the darker times” and “transform their lives for the better”.

Mr York said Jules Sargent will not be able to return to England for “a substantial period of time”.

“Until then, Ben and Olivia will have to be schooled in New Zealand whilst Jules undergoes gruelling physiotherapy before the doctors can assess whether she is fit enough to take the children on their long journey home,” he wrote.

“Jules’s recovery period is expected to be very lengthy and we, as friends of the family, want to help Ben (age 6) and Olivia (age 9) get through what will inevitably be some very tough times over the next few years, given how involved their mums were in all aspects of their lives.”

Jules Sargent told GloucestershireLive she was “shocked” to hear about the fundraising campaign, which has attracted plenty of media attention in the United Kingdom ahead of Christmas.

“I didn’t think people would respond in this way to our situation, but it is really comforting to know how much people care and want to help my children,” she said.

“They have been through such a traumatic experience as they were initially stuck in the car whilst it was on its roof and had to be rescued by friends smashing the windows to get them out.

“It was a terrifying experience for everyone but Ben and Olivia have shown so much courage throughout this whole situation. I am so proud of them of both.”

At the time of writing, the fundraising campaign had raised more than 7,000 pounds ($12,500) of its 10,000 pounds ($17,850) target.







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