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11 May 2018

BY James Chapple


Nearly £35,000 raised for travel couple stranded in Thailand

Nearly £35,000 has been raised in just over 24 hours for a travel couple stranded in Thailand after they were seriously hurt in a crash.

Abbie Sontag Pete Brudenell.jpg

Nearly £35,000 raised for travel couple stranded in Thailand

More than 1,100 people have backed a fundraising campaign to pay travel agent Abbie Sontag’s medical costs after she was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry earlier this week.

Abbie, who works for Kenwood Travel in Harlow, had been travelling with partner Pete Brudenell, who also works for Kenwood as head of marketing, when the crash happened.

The couple were heading to the beach resort of Khao Lak when their taxi was struck by a truck.

Agent Abbie, 28, suffered three broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and bowel, and a break in her spine, all requiring surgery. Pete, meanwhile, was also severely hurt and is also recovering in hospital.

Her family flew out to Thailand to support her after the crash, but despite the extraordinary response to the GoFundMe campaign, sister Ellis Sontag revealed on Friday morning (May 11) the situation was worse than they first thought.

“It’s been a bit of a rough morning - we have been hit with the news that they are delaying Ab’s op, she is absolutely devastated and has cried all morning,” said Ellis.

“She has an infection and collapsed lungs so with that, along with having her spleen already removed, they are not willing to operate until she is completely fit enough.

“They have upped her antibiotics and will re-evaluate Monday - she is upset about all her scars and is very emotional. We are all reminding her how incredible and strong she is.”

Ellis said have brave sister had, however, managed “three spoonfuls of mash” which was a step in the right direction.

Abbie and her family were devastated after the crash to discover her travel insurance, obtained through her bank, did not adequately protect her, leaving the family responsible for her medical bills, which they’ve since found out are likely to be more than first thought.

Their GoFundMe campaign, which at 9am on Friday was just £1,000 shy of their original £35,000 target, has now been extended to £60,000.

Sister Ellis added the family wished to thank everyone for their support so far: “You have all been truly amazing,” she said. “Me and my family thank you all more than you all know, but please please keep sharing and spreading this guys we need to keep going.”

Support has poured in from the travel industry in Abbie and Pete’s hour of need, with donors and well-wishers contributing from across the globe.

Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts in the Maldives said: “We wish Abbie a speedy recovery. Pete, we are with you!”

Attraction World added: “Wishing you both a speedy recovery and safe return home. All the best from the whole team at Attraction World x.”

The link to their fundraising page has also been widely shared through the Travel Gossip Facebook group, where dozens of fellow travel professionals have left Abbie and Pete messages of support.

Responding to just some of the messages, Ellis added: “Thank you so much to everyone. Me and my family can not put in to words how grateful we all are.”


You can find out more about the fundraising campaign here and make a donation.

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