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‘Absolutely humbled’ – crowdfunding set to reunite stranded O’Brien with family

An appeal from O'Brien on social media to help raise funds for his return to England to his family has worked
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former Kiwi quick Iain O’Brien, who was stranded in New Zealand following restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak, will finally be reunited with his family in England after his fund-raising initiative bore fruit.

O’Brien was in Wellington with his parents, away from his wife and kids, when the Covid-19 spread intensified. He tried to make his way back to support his wife, who suffers from a lung ailment which makes her susceptible to the virus attack, but could only watch helplessly as airlines went on a cancellation spree.

With three booked flights getting canned one by one, and refunds taking time to process, O’Brien’s finances took a major hit, forcing him to resort to fund-raising to get a flight to England.

“This virus could kill her. I need to get back ASAP to help her out and keep her safe,” O’Brien had stated on his PayPal page, one that he had put in place to seek finances to go back. In return, he even offered to share his cricketing knowledge, and the experience he’d earned over a decade-long first-class career.

“If anyone would love a 20 min Skype/vid call, one on one, talk about all things cricket, politics, sausages, mental health, Sachin, etc,” he had posted on Twitter. “If you’d like that & can spare a couple of $£, DM me.”

The response was heartwarming. O’Brien, seeking at least £2250 to catch a flight on April 5, saw the account collect as much as £3660. An overjoyed O’Brien took to his YouTube channel to thank his benefactors: “You bunch of bloody amazing people! Absolutely humbled,” he wrote on Twitter.

“This is quite difficult because I’m not used to these kind of things,” O Brien said. “But I woke up this morning, maybe for the third or fourth time in my life I cried before I got out of bed… I thank you all so much for your contributions… I’m speechless and I really don’t know what to say.

“I’m just so grateful… thank you and my wife thanks you.

The amount left over will be donated to a charity “that is absolutely worthy at this moment”, he added.

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