Denny man caught up in Hurricane Dorian devastation

Martin McCafferty, centre, is coming back to Denny soon after surviving a hurricane
Martin McCafferty, centre, is coming back to Denny soon after surviving a hurricane

The family of a Denny builder caught up in the hurricane which ripped through the Caribbean earlier this month have thanked everyone for supporting a fundraiser.

Martin McCafferty (60) and his wife Julieth escaped with their lives but lost everything in the hurricane which devastated the Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian swept through the islands, wrecking communities and leaving tragedy in its wake.

Sister-in-law Laura McCafferty, who organised the fundraiser which took place in Denny’s Crypt Hall on Sunday, said the whole family had been anxiously waiting for news as details of the hurricane emerged.

She said: “You see these things on TV but it’s very different when you know someone caught up in it.”

A former pupil of St Modan’s High, Martin has forged a dream career building des-res homes for people seeking the good life, and ahead of him lies the prospect of a massive rebuilding operation.

But as Laura said all of it could so easily have been swept away in the devastating hurricane that smashed homes into matchwood and killed scores or perhaps hundreds of people, making many others homeless.

While Martin endured the terror of trying to survive in the eye of the storm on Grand Abaco, his wife Julieth – on a different island at the time – “prayed for three nights and days” after her phone call to him went dead during the hurricane.

She said her relief when he was finally able to report he was alive, but added she wouldn’t truly believe it until he was safe in her arms.

Laura said: “Martin is getting ready to come home for a few weeks on October 9, because although he is fine in one way the shock of what he has been through has obviously had an effect.”

Laura concedes it’s darkly ironic that a Scot should be looking forward to a break from the Bahamas in typically dank and rainy Scotland – but the circumstances are compelling.

“He was living in a group of four houses there, and there’s basically nothing left of them”, she added.

“What he has been through is hard to imagine – it’s nothing like anything that would happen here.”

She says the true casualty toll may never be known, as many Haitian earthquake refugees were living rough on the island, and since most were there illegally there will be no accurate records of their plight.

In a video message home Martin sent his heartfelt thanks to the many local people who have given both emotional and practical support in the aftermath of the disaster.

He said: “We have been through a rough, rough time ... but we are survivors.

“I cannot thank you all enough. I can’t wait to get back home and give you a big hug”.

Looking forward to seeing him are Laura, her husband Gerard and Martin’s other four brothers and two sisters, as well as mum Mary (86).

“We tried to hid her from the worst of what was happening,” admitted Laura.

The family would like to thank the 100 or so people who turned up for the fundraiser, which has raised in excess of £2000, as well as all the local businesses who donated prizes.