Footballer loses fight for life but appeal continues

A GAMBIAN footballer seriously injured in a car accident has died, despite an emergency appeal by a local businesswoman to help provide him with life-saving treatment.

Jackie Learmonth is a regular fund-raiser for, and supporter of, the Kunta Kinteh nursery school in Fanji Kunda, in western Gambia. She also sponsors the football team attached to the school.

Barely a week after returning from one of her regular visits to the country, Mrs Learmonth received the shocking news that two of the team’s players had been killed in the car crash which also left Mr Camara unconscious and with multiple broken bones.

But just two days after publicising the appeal in last week’s Review to help fund his medical treatment, she heard that he had died in hospital from his injuries.

Healthcare in Gambia is not free and Mr Camara’s family was unable to pay for treatment and the true extent of his injuries was only discovered after Mrs Learmonth herself paid for him to be moved to a private hospital where he received an MRI scan.

As well as suffering multiple broken bones he was found to have swelling on the brain and required an operation.

The three men in the car worked in Senegal and had been returning from Dakar, where they had renewed their visas to allow them to continue working in the country.

Despite Mr Camara’s death, however, Mrs Learmonth said that due to the quick response to the appeal from the local public, and the wishes of those who contacted her, the fund-raising will continue to help support Mr Camara’s family.

She said: “I would like to thank all customers and friends for the huge amount of support and funds I received to help with the treatment of my close friend Bubacar Camara.

“Sadly on Friday he lost his fight for life but I will continue with the fund-raising to help his family through this difficult time.

“His family send their grateful thanks to the local people for helping to fund the treatment during his seven-day battle to live.”

Mrs Learmonth became involved with the school, which deals mainly with orphans, around three years ago when she began fund-raising to help build the new facility.

She raised around £16,000 over two years and has maintained a close connection with the nursery and its authorities ever since. At the same time she has supported the team which is linked to the school and is made up of youngsters and carers. Mr Camara was the main carer for one of the orphans.

Mrs Learmonth has since flown out to Gambia to be with Mr Camara’s family but, meanwhile, anyone wishing to donate to the appeal or raise funds can contact The Yard nightclub on 674246, Steeplejacks Bar on 672291 or The Woodville Inn, Kirriemuir, on 01575 573917.