Mother happy Tunisia tourist home

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Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The mother of a man shot three times as he tried to save his fiance from a terrorist gunman said she is relieved that the couple are back on British soil.

Mathew James – from Trehafod, Pontypridd, south Wales – was hit in the hip, chest and pelvis as he shielded wife-to-be Saera Wilson from gunfire at the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse – where 38 people were murdered.

The 30-year-old’s mother Kathryn Matthews said it was the “most fantastic feeling” seeing Saera step off the plane while her son was carried on a stretcher behind her.

As well as speaking of her relief, she told friends on Facebook that her son – known to pals as “Sas” – had held the hand of a dying man who had also been shot.

Writing on Facebook, she said: “Sas and Saera are back on home turf and safe.

“He’s in good spirits and is getting the very best of care.

“It was the most fantastic feeling seeing Saera step off the plane & Sas stretchered off … (they are) back where they belong.

“So proud of him, after being the first to be shot and making sure Saera got to safety, he held the hand of an elderly gent who lay dying next to him, totally overwhelmed by it all.”

Mrs Matthews said her son was looking forward to being reunited with his two children – Tegan, six, and 14-month-old Kaden.

In the meantime, donations to a fundraising page in honour of gas-fitter Mr James continue to flood in – with more than £10,000 raised in less than 24 hours.

Organiser Ian Spedding, 53, from Burnley, said he felt compelled to do something even though he did not know the Welsh couple.

He said: “We heard about the story and were discussing it on some gas engineer forums, and it occurred to us that he might not be able to work for a while.

“He’s one of our own and we look out for our own. If he’s not working, his family will need the support and it’s good to see everyone rallying around him.”

Mr James’ mother added her family had been touched by people’s kindness and messages of support.

She added: “It has done so much to help us through a very traumatic time.

“(There is) a long road ahead for Sas physically …. and emotionally.”

Mr James’ family issued a statement through South Wales Police confirming he and his future wife had arrived back home.

A spokesman said: “Mathew is currently in a stable and comfortable condition in hospital.

“He and his fiancee Saera are doing well, and are happy to be back in the UK.

“They wish to thank all of the medical teams in both Tunisia and the UK for all of their professional assistance, care and support.

“They would also like to thank everyone involved in ensuring their safe return to the UK and the support shown by family, friends and the public.”

Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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