Two families speak about the Nigerian kidnap in which a March GP and his wife were taken during Christian medical missionary work

PUBLISHED: 11:14 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 14 November 2017

Dr David Donovan, the March GP who was held hostage with his wife Shirley in Nigeria. PHOTO: Archant)

Dr David Donovan, the March GP who was held hostage with his wife Shirley in Nigeria. PHOTO: Archant)

Archant

The families of two people kidnapped in Nigeria, alongside a March GP and his wife, have spoken about the experience in the heart of the west African region renowned for dangerous political unrest.

Ian Squires was among four Christian medical missionaries held hostage for three weeks.

They spent three weeks in captivity.

Floral tributes have been left outside his optician business in Shepperton and tributes paid by local councillors and residents.

Alanna Carson, 23, an optometrist from Ballymoney in Co Antrim, Ireland, had been working with the Donovan’s New Foundations Christian medical charity in the Niger Delta.

Her father Alan said his daughter is recovering at their family farm and is not ready to speak publicly.

Dr David Donovan, 57, of Riverside Practice, and his wife Shirley, 57, were released earlier this month and are recovering with family.

It’s understood a ransom was demanded, but it is not known if it was paid following the abduction in the early hours of October 13.

Mr Squire’s family have paid tribute to the loving father, husband, and devout Christian, who dedicated much of his life in the service of others.

Mr Squire, an optician in Shepperton, founded the Mission for Vision charity with his wife, which made annual trips bringing eye care programs to the developing world.

They were working alongside the Donovan’s Christian medical charity providing free services to residents living near isolated Niger Delta creeks when they were kidnapped.

In a statement released by the Foreign Office the family said: “We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Ian, a loving father, husband, and devout Christian, who dedicated much of his life in the service of others.

“It’s clear that Ian had touched many hearts with his kindness and grace.

“The extent of his impact is only made more apparent by the overwhelming response from the community in the wake of his death.

“He was a man constantly pushing the boundaries of generosity with his charity work, the scope of which knew no borders, taking him all the way to developing countries that needed it the most.

“Whilst the pain of this loss will be felt for many years to come, we are heartened by the incredible show of support and love from those that his life touched.

“The family at this time appreciates your support and privacy as we deal with this unimaginable loss.”

The father of Alanna said she went through a terrible ordeal and it was God’s grace that brought her home safely.

Alanna works full-time as an optometrist at Specsavers in Leven, Fife, Scotland.

She had been helping give eye tests to people during her work in Nigeria.

A statement issued on behalf of the families of all four hostages said: “We are grateful for the support received by the British High Commission and help from the Nigerian authorities in negotiating their release.

“We are delighted and relieved that Alanna, David and Shirley have returned home safely.

“Our thoughts are now with the family and friends of Ian as we come to terms with his sad death. This has been a traumatic time for our loved ones who were kidnapped and for their families and friends here in the UK.

“This has been a traumatic time for our loved ones who were kidnapped and for their families and friends here in the UK.

“We would therefore ask that the media respect our privacy as we come to terms with the news.”

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