An urgent fundraising appeal has been launched after a young Linslade woman was badly injured during a hit and run in Vietnam.
Nicole Goyder, 23, was riding her electric scooter down a road in the early hours of Sunday morning, when another vehicle suddenly appeared on her side of the street and swerved into her.
The former Cedars Upper School pupil has now been left with serious injuries, including a fracture to her forehead, fractured eye sockets and a broken nose, and is due to have surgery on Thursday to set the fractures.
However, the medical bills will not come cheap, and Nicole's friends in Hanoi have set up a fundraising page with a target of $10,000, while her worried pals back in Leighton-Linslade are organising a raffle.
Nicole's mum, Sharon, 57, said: "When I found out it just felt like the world exploded in front of my eyes - you just think the worst.
"Her recollection is that she was driving along, and somebody suddenly appeared on her side of the road and swerved into her.
"The next thing Nicole remembers is standing there with blood all down her face. She doesn't remember more than that.
"She had to spend 48 hours in intensive care. Brain damage was mentioned, and if she had a bleed on the brain they would have to operate immediately."
Sharon added: "Nicole had gone to Vietnam to teach English. You never know what's round the corner. You expect something like this to happen to a third party, but it's us."
The road in question was riddled with potholes, so no-one is sure whether the other rider's swerve was deliberate or accidental; Nicole (who was wearing a crash helmet) also thinks it was a car that hit her, but can't recall fully.
Luckily, an American man named William French came to Nicole's aid, along with around five Vietnamese citizens, as he heard a loud bang and went to see what the commotion was.
He called a cab for Nicole and escorted her to the hospital, staying with her and getting in touch with her Hanoi friends.
Sharon is now flying out to the country to beside her daughter for two weeks, and afterwards Nicole's boyfriend will be flying out for three weeks.
Thankfully, Nicole had not damaged her brain, but she is now preparing for facial surgery on Thursday; however, insurance companies have been unable to help and she cannot fly back to England because the change in air pressure could be dangerous.
Sharon said: "I found out soon after it happened. William had put a post on a Facebook group for ex-pats to say he had found Nicole, and a mum in the group - who lives in Canada, but has a daughter in Vietnam - found me on Facebook and sent me a message.
"I rang her up, near enough hysterical.
"I'd broken my arm the day before. Then this happened - but it's an inconvenience in comparison!
"Nicole has been very brave - incredible."
Before the accident, Nicole had been an English teacher at an eco-park community on the outskirts of Hanoi, giving lessons to students ranging from four-years-old to fifteen-years-old.
In 2018, she had been to Bangladesh to work with women and discuss issues such as sexual health and women's rights, and had also travelled to Indonesia in 2017.
Close childhood friend and former Linslade neighbour, Jess Smith, 23, said: "Nicole lives life to the full. She's been travelling for quite a long time and has friends from all over the world. She's really outgoing, popular, and friendly.
"We used to do a lot of fundraising when I was younger for the charity called Ouch UK, which specialises in headaches, as my mum has a condition called Hemicrania continua, which causes constant migraines.
"It would be lovely if people could give back to Nicole, and she also hopes the other driver is OK. She needs £9,000 for the surgery, and then there's the aftercare to pay for.
"The whole school [Cedars] has been really shocked by what happened."
Jess and a few other Leighton-Linslade friends are now organising an online raffle which will take place tomorrow (August 28). Prizes include: a week away in Devon donated by Beverley Davies, a scholarship to Stagecoach, a Pizza Express voucher, afternoon tea at Room No9, a Frosts voucher, and a Coconut Merchant voucher.
Sharon concluded: "Nicole really enjoyed being with the children, and especially enjoyed teaching the eight, nine and ten-year-olds, because they were really enthusiastic and didn't have inhibitions.
"I want to say thank you to everyone who has been involved in helping her, and if the target runs over I hope to find another family in need or donate to a charity.
"I'd also say that everyone needs travel insurance - youngsters think they are invincible, but as I said, you never know what's round the corner."
Jess would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated prizes. If you would like to donate for the raffle tomorrow, please contact: email@example.com