BIG-HEARTED hotel staff and musicians are holding a fundraiser to bring a critically ill Inverclyde man back home from Cambodia

The Custom House Hotel is hosting a music festival on Saturday evening to help Charles McLaughlin, who suffered a suspected stroke while travelling there.

He is now on life support in a hospital in the capital Phnom Penh and recently underwent a tracheotomy to aid his breathing.

Shirley Smith, who manages the hotel, said: "When we realised that this was somebody from Gourock who was stuck on the other side of the world, we thought it was a good idea to get involved."

Once in hospital, scans showed that Charles had two large clots in his brain stem, leaving him unable to speak or breathe unaided.

He can only communicate by moving his eyelids.

His mum Esther - a former theatre nurse who lived in Port Glasgow and Gourock - and his sisters Jennifer and Lyndsay have launched an online campaign to raise the money needed to fly him home.

Shirley said: "He is a local boy and his mother worked here as a nurse.

"I have three sons in their twenties and they go travelling, so it hits home that it could happen to anyone."

Esther, 67, who retrained as a midwife, moved away to Macclesfield 20 years ago after her husband Charlie, a theatre technician, died.

She now lives in Lancashire and is remortgaging her house to pay for Charles' treatment at the 400-dollars-a-night hospital.

Jennifer, 41, who lives in Essex, said: "My mum, who is a nurse, thinks if he stays there he will die of sepsis."

Charles' plight has touched the hearts of the Inverclyde community and staff at the Custom House Hotel were only too happy to help.

Shirley said: "They thought it was a great idea and went for it.

"They've been going round selling raffle tickets."

It's hoped that a packed line-up of bands will help raise around £2,000 for the fund.

The Benny and Panda Jam were the first to volunteer and they will be joined by MamaGroove, Burning Kilo and Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, plus solo artists Rod Miller, Neil Coll and Joe McMahon.

Meanwhile Jennifer has given an update on her brother's latest condition, saying: "Charles underwent a tracheotomy yesterday and mum's says he is breathing a bit more peacefully.

"He caught an unavoidable infection and has been treated with intravenous antibiotics."

The family have raised just over £40,000 but need another £50,000 to bring Charles home.

Jennifer said: "We are absolutely over the moon, delighted and extremely grateful to hear that Shirley and her team have chosen to invest so much time and effort into organising what will be a belter of a music fest.

"We really appreciate the talented, local artists who have chosen to donate some of their time to perform.

"This really means a lot to mum, Lyndsay and I.

"Mum has told Charles about Shirley's festival, so that he knows just how many people over here have got his back and are rooting for him right now.

"Thank-you to everyone involved, the generosity we are being shown by the great people of Inverclyde to get Charles home is truly incredible."

The gig starts at 5pm.

You can support the appeal at