Retired Colchester hospital consultant in Nepal appeals for donations to help earthquake victims

Angela Colclough with Helen Karki Chettri and daughter Isabelle

Angela Colclough with Helen Karki Chettri and daughter Isabelle - Credit: Archant

A former Colchester hospital consultant caught up in the Nepal earthquake has appealed for donations to help those affected.

PHASE Nepal helping people in the aftermath of the earthquake outside their former centre

PHASE Nepal helping people in the aftermath of the earthquake outside their former centre - Credit: Archant

Dr Angela Colclough, 61, retired as a consultant pathologist at the Colchester hospital trust almost two years ago.

The Stoke-by-Nayland resident travelled out to Kathmandu six weeks ago ahead of the birth of her grand-daughter Isabelle – who arrived three weeks ago, with some help from mum who brushed up on her obstetrics skills with a former hospital colleague before leaving.

Dr Colclough’s daughter Helen and Nepali son-in-law Nir both work for international development, and the family were forced to live in a tent for four days after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck.

Fortunately they live in a less-densely populated area so the devestation where they live is less widespread, and the tremor did not happen during the monsoon season when the rice paddies would have been full.

Nir, 32, works for PHASE Nepal, a non-governmental organisation that runs health and education outposts in rural Nepal, and was in one of the areas affected when the earthquake struck.

He and the team had left a restaurant which was wiped out by the tremor just ten minutes before disaster hit, and were forced to shelter among some trees as rocks – some the size of small cars – fell around them.

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Helen, with the help of her sister Anna Shelmerdine back in the UK, have launched an appeal for funds for PHASE.

Dr Colclough, who is due to return home tomorrow, is now asking people in the UK to urgently donate funds to the appeal.

Helen, 34, who was with Dr Colclough when the quake hit, said: “I was preparing to feed Isabelle when the earthquake struck. It was terrifying.

“Having lived in Nepal for a while I knew to wait in the house and went straight under a doorway whilst holding Isabelle. I screamed at Mum to join us and we stood together for what felt like a life time holding her in between us.

“I was expecting it to die down much more quickly than it did and the whole house was shaking from side to side. I was sure it was going to topple over and decided to take our chances and run out of the building.

“Our dog Bert had been behaving strangely for the 24 hours which preceded the quake. When the big one struck she bolted for the balcony and didn’t leave with us.

“Whilst we waited outside I called for her but it took age before we were able to get her out.

“Once the adrenalin had passed we were both incredibly shaky. The aftershocks were also equally terrifying as many of them were very strong and they went on for days – in fact stronger than other earthquakes to have struck Nepal in recent years.”

Fortunately baby Isabelle has taken events in her stride.

Helen added: “She didn’t really notice the difference. I joked that the earthquakes probably felt like being rocked to sleep for her.

“Also instead of waking the three of us up at night she was a little alarm clock for our extended family and around 50 of our neighbours who were sleeping beside us under the poly-tunnel where locals grow vegetables.”

To donate to the appeal visit their Virgin Moneygiving site.