Search for mystery Sheffield Samaritan who helped pen pal when war struck

A Cypriot family are searching for the Sheffield saviour who came to their aid when disaster struck the island.

Tuesday, 11th July 2017, 9:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th July 2017, 9:51 am
David Murgatroyd's (circled) old pen pal says his generosity will never be forgotten

David Murgatroyd was on a family holiday in Famagusta during the early 1970s when he befriended a local boy Christakis Hadjigeorgiou.

Having bonded over their love of football, with David supporting local side Salamina due to their red-and-white jerseys, the teenagers kept in touch via mail.

David with Christakis (left) and another friend on the beach in Cyprus

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In 1974, the peace of the idyllic Mediterranean resort was shattered when a long-running dispute over control of the island escalated and Turkey responded to a Greek military coup by invading.

Thousands were killed or wounded and an estimated 200,000 people were made homeless, including Christakis and his family who fled without any of their belongings.

For the next few years they lived a nomadic existence, sheltering with various relatives before eventually settling in Limassol once hope faded of their ever returning to Famagusta.

David managed to stay in touch with his holiday pen pal during the early months of the conflict and sent a box containing vital supplies including clothes, a sleeping bag and a blanket which Christakis has to this day.

Do you know David?

They eventually lost touch after Christakis's family moved again while he was completing his compulsory military service

Christakis, who later moved to Nicosia where he joined the police, is now aged 62 and has two grown children.

But he has never forgotten David's kindness and with the help of his son Demetris is determined to track down his long-lost friend and thank him for his generosity.

Demetris said: "It meant so much to Dad and his family that someone whom they barely knew tried to help them and gave them the necessary psychological support and strength to keep fighting for a better life.

David with Christakis (left) and another friend on the beach in Cyprus

"They barely had the essentials at that time and an extra pair of shoes or a blanket was very important for them.

"Dad tried to search for David before without success but three months ago he came across the blanket and that sparked his interest again to find him and pay him back for his kindness back then when he had nothing."

Christakis and his family know very little about David, other than that he lived in Sheffield during the early 1970s and would be aged around 60 today.

* If you know David or think you may be able to help them track him down, please email Christakis's daughter Elena at [email protected]

Do you know David?