Cowplain couple 'proud to be British' after securing last repatriation flight home from South Africa

A COWPLAIN couple who were not overly disheartened about being forced to extend their stay in South Africa amid the coronavirus lockdown have revealed their pride to be British after jumping on the last repatriation flight from the country.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 5:15 pm
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 8:24 pm

Joe McCue, 78, and his wife Margaret, 73, admitted ‘things could be a lot worse’ after restriction measures meant they had to stay in Cape Town for a further three weeks.

As reported, the couple had been left in their apartment overlooking Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated - with them posting picture perfect views of scenery.

‘Things could be a lot worse, sunny days, plenty of food in the stores, no shortage of toilet rolls,’ Joe said earlier this month.

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Joe and Margaret McCue in Cape Town

The couple had not expected to be allowed to leave South Africa until the end of April but were dealt a ‘lucky’ hand after squeezing onto the last repatriation flight.

Joe said: ‘We received an email from Virgin Atlantic advising us of a repatriation flight from Cape Town to Heathrow on Friday, April 17 which we applied for and were lucky enough to be accepted.

‘We received great support from British High Commission in South Africa giving us details of how our flight home would be organised.’

Joe went on to say how no stone was left unturned in securing their passage back to the UK.

Joe and Margaret McCue's apartment view on their last night in Cape Town

He said: ‘We were advised to meet at the Cape Town Stadium at 6.30am on Friday morning, we were given a letter giving the driver permission to drive us to the meeting point and then back to their homes.

‘We were all tested before we could board the coaches to the airport and the older people were all assisted with their luggage.

‘At the airport again there were High Commission staff there to help us and everything went like clockwork. On board the Virgin crew were also outstanding as they were all volunteers from the airline - unsung heroes.’

Joe added: ‘We are extremely grateful to the British High Commission and Virgin Atlantic staff for the wonderful service we received. It made us really proud to be British.’

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