Norwich man suffers stroke on flight back from Australia

A Norwich man is fighting for his life in a Dubai hospital after suffering a stroke on a flight home from a holiday in Australia.

Eddie Pleban and his wife Jeannie had been visiting their youngest daughter Sarah-Jane, 31, and their newest grandchild Charlotte in Perth on Australia's west coast.

But as their Royal Brunei Airlines flight neared Dubai for a refuelling stop late on Saturday night, Mr Pleban was taken seriously ill and has been in hospital in the country since.

It remains unclear when the manager for Diss-based Solo Housing – who has yet to regain full consciouness – will be able to return home.

But his daughter Louise Hamilton, from Woodton, south of Norwich, is hoping that her parents will soon be back on home soil.

She said: 'The plane was due to refuel in Dubai not long before dad had his stroke so they touched down there and luckily my cousin Stephen lives there so he has been able to support my mum.

'It happened very quickly on the plane but mum said the Royal Brunei crew and medical team were absolutely brilliant.'

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Mrs Hamilton said her other brothers and sisters are at her father's bedside and they are waiting to hear if the holiday insurance will cover them for him to be flown home.

She added: 'He is doing as well as can be expected and we are hoping that in the next few days he will be able to fly home but the cost of that could be �40,000. We think their holiday insurance should cover that though.

'They have got a new specialist stroke unit at the Norfolk and Norwich so we want him to come back here.'

Mrs Hamilton, who has been unable to jet out to Dubai because she has a 20-month-old daughter and has not been able to leave her, added: 'I have been trying to sort things out at this end, like looking after their house in Norwich but if the decision is that he can't fly then I am going to have to go out there.'

Mr Pleban, 63, was born in Sunderland and had a 17-year career in the Merchant Navy before joining YMCA Norfolk as a catering manager.

He is a grandfather of six and has one other daughter, 39-year-old Lila, and a son, John, who is 38 and followed in his father's footsteps to be based in Gibraltar with the Royal Navy.

Mr Pleban spent 26 years with YMCA Norfolk, finally as head of housing services, until he was made redundant last year.

It was at this point that Mrs Hamilton set up a Facebook group for people to tell her father of their appreciation of his work over the years.

This group has now been flooded with get-well tributes, particularly from The Norwich and Norfolk Christian Community that the Mr and Mrs Pleban are involved with.

To join Mrs Hamilton's Facebook group, search for the group 'I Love Eddie Pleban'.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Pleban? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email