Community rallies behind family of recovering guitarist

Manx musician Dave Lang, in hospital in Croatia

Manx musician Dave Lang, in hospital in Croatia

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The Manx musical community got behind one of their own on Saturday, as popular guitarist Dave Lang recovers in hospital in Croatia.

The family of the Port Erin man face mounting medical bills after Mr Lang required emergency surgery after falling seriously ill while in the Adriatic coastal town of Zadar, the home of his Croatian girlfriend Marinela Dakovic.

In response, spearheaded by neighbour and gig promotor Lenny Conroy, a fundraising gig was organised for Saturday at Port Erin’s The Bay, and more than £1,000 was raised to support Dave and his family.

Mr Lang met Marinela two years ago, and since then the retired former Friends Provident employee has divided his time between the Isle of Man and Croatia.

He was due to head back to the island for around the TT period, before his health took a drastic turn.

‘We found out about a week ago,’ said Lenny. ‘She [Marinela] was at work, Dave phoned her complaining of pins and needles running up his leg. They took him in, and had to open him up. It was grim, they thought he’d had a heart attack.

‘He had a blocked aorta and his kidneys failed. He went unconscious and they suspected that it may even have caused brain damage.’

Upon hearing the news his two daughters Elise and Amelia flew out to Croatia to be with their father.

‘On Wednesday there was a huge improvement,’ Lenny explained. ‘He opened his eyes, his kidneys started working and he could breathe on his own. It’s not clear how he is, but he recognised and talked to his daughters, told them he loved them.’

Until Mr Lang regains his faculties more fully, his daughters remain unsure if he has insurance that will cover his ongoing treatment.

His initial emergency treatment was done without charge, though the family were asked to pay before doctors could carry out further treatment.

‘They got the money together, but now the bills are coming in, and they are young parents themselves,’ said Lenny.

Elise flew back to the island on Friday, while her sister stayed in Zadar. She was at The Bay for the gig, but will fly back to Croatia on Friday to give her sister a week’s rest.

‘It is a miracle he has come this far,’ she said.

Lenny added: ‘There was a great local response. Even before the gig, Jonny Galbraith [currently starring in The Sound of Music at the Gaiety] got us started off, donating his fee from the show, and Bushy’s donated £150.

‘Around 25 musicians got up to play during four hours of great music from the blues to rock and rockabilly. A huge thank you to the musicians and to everyone that came down and donated and supported. We are wishing Dave a speedy recovery.

‘Dave would never say boo to a goose. He is a popular, unassuming guy. It’ll be a long recovery, but people are working to find out what is best for him.’

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