When Whanganui man Dave Brickley picked up the phone after a long day at work he received the news no son would like to receive.

His father had been in a serious accident.

His father Thomas had been refilling his lighter with lighter fluid inside his kitchen when he accidentally pressed the igniter.

This caused the lighter fluid can to explode all over his body, burning him from his chin to waist, melting all his clothes, only to leave the collar on his shirt.


"The biggest fear when he first went in was would he survive it because of the shock and whether his heart was strong enough," Brickley said.

Brickley could not rush to his father's bedside as Thomas lives in Greater Manchester, England.

It has been 15 years since Brickley has seen his father after moving from Market Harborough in England to Whanganui.

His father has now spent his 86th birthday in hospital waking up out of an induced coma he had been in due to the severity of his wounds.

But it is not the first time Thomas has experienced severe injuries Brickley said, as he was shot in point-blank range with a rifle causing him to go blind in one eye at the age of 21.

A very well respected man in his community, he is known as "the elderly gentleman".

His local watering hole, the Kensington Tavern, even closed early on the day of the accident as a sign of respect.

Thomas now has burns on roughly 45 per cent of his upper body.

Chris Brickley (Dave's brother) and their father Thomas. Photo / Supplied
Chris Brickley (Dave's brother) and their father Thomas. Photo / Supplied

So far he has undergone several operations to cut away some of the most affected areas of his wounds on his body.

"He's struggling to breathe because of the burns in his throat and oesophagus and they are not sure of the damage to his lungs but he can't talk because of the burns so at the moment he's just communicating with blinks," Brickley said.

Dave's four other siblings are with their father in Wythenshawe Hospital but due to struggling financially he cannot afford the costs of traveling to see him.

Being on a temporary contract as a tanker driver, Brickley does not get holiday pay.

Brickley also suffered from a back accident two years ago and ACC cut his funding, causing him and his wife Jill to dig into their savings to be able to pay the weekly bills.

Determined to get her father back home, Lucy has set up a Givealittle page to raise funds for an emergency passport and funds to support her grandfather's recovery.

So far the page has raised over $2000 but another $3000 is needed to able to purchase an emergency passport, flights and treatment for Thomas.

"This Givealittle page, the messages, donations have been quite emotional, a big heartfelt thank you even just for all the comments and shares, it's just a outpouring of Aroha," Brickley said.

If Brickley were to go he said he would stay maximum of two to three weeks due to work commitments.

To donate to the Brickley's you can visit the Givealittle page https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/get-the-brickleys-to-the-uk-for-grandad