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Good Samaritans get Kentford pensioner Roger home

Kentford pensioner Roger Harrison is safely home after the coronavirus outbreak left him stranded in Australia for a week.

The 71-year-old landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday after travelling with Coventry couple Chris Cox and Laurelle Thomas who had looked after the former firefighter when, like them, he found himself stuck at Melbourne airport after the airline with which he was travelling shout down all its flights.

Roger had been in Australia for two months visiting his brother in Canberra. His only other relatives are his two sisters who live in Dorset and he did not have a mobile phone.

Roger Harrison (32791833)
Roger Harrison (32791833)

Chris and Laurelle let Roger move in with them while they spent a week trying to find a flight home. “We finally managed to find one with Qatar airways with three seats left so we booked Roger’s flight too,” said Laurelle. “The airlines had put their prices up a lot and we had to pay three times the normal price.

“After a total of 30 hours’ travelling, we got Roger a train ticket from Heathrow to Cambridge.”

And it was at there Roger was met by long-time friend Tony Clements who, with his wife Karen, had contacted the Journal after seeing Roger’s story last week.

Content editor Alison Hayes put them in touch with Laurelle who then arranged for Tony to pick him up.

“Roger had never been so happy to get home,” said Karen, “and the whole experience had been very scary but Laurelle and Chris saved the day something for which Roger will be forever grateful.”

Laurelle added: “In the end after stressful events and a week living together we have come out the other wide with a friend for life. We are definitely going to keep in touch with Roger and Karen is going to make sure he buys a phone.”