A SALTCOATS man stuck in the Philippines ‘owes his life to the Three Towns’, said his family.

Robert Gray, known as Bobby, was left ‘abandoned like a dying dog’ on the streets of the country’s capital, Manila, after plans to build a new life went awry.

With help from people back home, Bobby has been booked into a hotel as he awaits confirmation from the British Embassy that he can return to Scotland.

Speaking to the Herald from the Philippines, Bobby said: “I overstayed. [I] was supposed to arrive here March 18, but lockdown was March 15 for six weeks.

“I’m a senior here, classified as 63-years-old. [Seniors] and children couldn’t do anything but stay at home.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Bobby had to wait for months before he could book a coronavirus test in order to obtain travel passes from a health centre and police, but he had nothing left, no money for a flight to Scotland.

When a friend in the Three Towns, Bobby Crozier, heard how desperate his situation was he knew he had to do something.

Mr Crozier contacted Councillor Jim Montgomerie and work started to bring Bobby home.

But they were met with a whole host of problems with the time difference, poor reception and the complicated emigration process that needed to be navigated.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Cllr Montgomerie said: “Lots of red tape but we are slowly getting through it.

“I have made it perfectly clear to the Embassy that time is not on our side - it’s a matter of urgency.”

For over a week, the pair along with a kind-hearted woman in the Philippines have been trying to help bring Bobby home.

The Herald and others have been inundated with offers of help and support.

READ MORE: Saltcoats man ‘abandoned like a dog’ on the streets of Philippines capital Manila

Cllr Montgomerie said: “We would like to thank everyone who has contacted us.

“It’s something I have got emotionally tied to. Everything else has been out on the back burner because of the amount of time it is all taking.

“I’ve been extremely impatient with the process but understand there are lots of obstacles in our way.”

Bobby is now off the streets, in a comfortable hotel paid for by donations from people of the Three Towns.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Bobby in 2018 and then a few weeks ago.Bobby in 2018 and then a few weeks ago.

A family spokesperson said: “We appreciate what everybody has done for him and we knew nothing about this until we saw it on social media.

“He is a vulnerable old man, if this had not happened he could have been lying in a gutter dead.

“He will be forever in the debt to the Three Towns and everyone that has helped.

“He owes you his life, it’s as simple as that.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Spokesperson said: “We are providing assistance to a British man in the Philippines.”