A 65-year-old North Yorkshire man spoke about his time being stuck in Greece after suffering a mental breakdown and losing his job to Covid, leaving him thousands of euros in debt.

Mark Winspear, originally from Northallerton, said how he even attempted to get arrested on purpose as he was “scared witless”.

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Mr Winspear moved to the Mediterranean country in April 2010 after he had a long-time dream to retire there.

However, after losing a friend and losing his life-savings to rent, Mr Winspear found himself without a job and suffering from severe mental health issues.

Mr Winspear suffers from bipolar disorder and had his first mental health breakdown at 17 when his grandmother died.

Now, after being hospitalised and medicated, Mark is looking to return to his home country and seeking help to deal with these issues after he said he couldn’t “fight this alone”.

He said: “I ended up moving in with a guy I’d known, a British guy, who had a two bedroom house who was living on his own and we agreed to share the rent and everything else.

“Rather foolishly, thinking I was being prudent, I lent him 10,000 euros, my savings, against future rent to take me into when my pension is released next year.

“Short story basically, he became very ill and I basically nursed him for six months to travel with him to Athens to have his arteries and everything replaced.

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“I was around 13,000 euros out of pocket by then so it wiped out my savings but I managed to struggle on.

“I ended up getting into quite a panic.

“I basically ended up getting arrested on purpose because I was scared witless and I’d gone manic, I have bipolar so I was depressed for a long time.

“I was medicated when I was in hospital and I’ve now realised, or grown up if you like at 65, and realised I need the medication and healthcare and support.

“After 49 years of fighting on my own I’ve realised I was a bit of a fool, I can’t fight this. This is by far the worst incident I’ve had, I’ve managed to cope with the others."

A friend stepped in and launched a fundraising campaign in order to help him get out of debt and secure travel back to the UK.

The fundraiser has raised £1,185 as of writing and has been set up to pay for travel costs and documentation to get Mark back to the UK.

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