A FUNDRAISING appeal has been started by the family of a former Ilkley man who has been left with nothing after being caught up in the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

James Heward, 51, known to his family as Jamie, lives on the Caribbean island of St Martin with his French-born partner Veronique Thieffry. The couple survived the disaster unharmed but lost their home and all their possessions.

His sister Julie Collinson, of Addingham, was relieved to find he was safe and well but is now seriously concerned about his welfare as people are struggling to find food and cope with lawlessness.

As reported in the Ilkley Gazette last week, after managing to make contact with Jamie, the family found out he is staying is a tiny house close to his destroyed home and has a little frozen food and water.

After contacting the Foreign Office Julie has been told the UK government might be able to fly him out but could not take his partner. Jamie told his family he could not leave Veronique or his two dogs.

The family are now attempting to raise £5,000 to help the couple rebuild their lives. Julie, who has not heard from her brother is the last two weeks said: "I would like to raise funds for my brother James N Heward and his French partner, Veronique Thieffry who have lost everything in the Caribbean catastrophe, to enable them to return to their families to assist them to renew passports, to restart their lives, re-house and to support themselves until work is offered or available."

Jamie lived in Ilkley for the first 20 years of his life. The fundraising page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/irma-james-heward-everything-gone