Dying man makes last journey home; Cancer-stricken Riki back in Dumfries after 25 years.
Byline: STEPHEN TEMLETT
A dying man fulfilled his final wish this week - by returning home to Dumfries one last time.
Riki Stradmeijer, 55, has lived in the Netherlands for the last 25 years and was diagnosed with incurable cancer in December 2014.
He hoped to make the trip home to see his mum Gloria and visit his father Jan's resting place at the Roucan Loch.
And on Sunday, through Dutch charity Ambulance Wens (Wish), it became a reality.
Riki said: "About two weeks ago we had a setback and it became a matter of counting down the days rather than weeks.
"All of our lives were turned upside down really in my twilight moments.
"My last wish was to come home and see my mother and Dumfries one last time.
"Dumfries is home to me. I was born in Inverness but moved to Dumfries when I was five. I grew up here.
"I know when I come here I'm home. I see the sandstone and the signs and I know I'm home.
"My family put me forward for Ambulance Wens who help people like me fufill their last wish.
"On Sunday lunchtime they told me I was going home and I couldn't believe it. The tears were flowing."
On Monday, Riki, son Aiden and Ambulance Wens crew members Joop and Marian arrived in town after a ferry ride from the Netherlands.
Riki visited old haunts the Globe, Hole In the Wa' and had dinner in Edenbank, which his father once owned.
He added: "I've been staying at the Station Hotel and I've been to all those places on a trolley.
"The work that Joop and Marian from Ambulance Wens and the charity in general does, is fantastic.
"Wherever I wanted to go they took me. I feel like I came over with the A-Team. It was brilliant to see it all."
On Tuesday the ambulance picked up Riki's mum Gloria, who still lives in Dumfries, and travelled to Roucan Loch before they headed back to the ferry after the whistle-stop tour.
Riki said: "My father is buried there and I wanted to go one last time with my mum and son Aiden."
Mum Gloria said: "It was a lovely thing to do."
Ambulance Wens has fulfilled more than 12,000 wishes since it was founded in February 2007.
Trip home Riki Stradmeijer with his sister , Gigi Stewart , mum Gloria Stradmeijer , son Aiden Stradmeijer and ambulance staff Joop and Marion in Dumfries