Friends are rallying around a family desperately trying to get to the bedside of their critically ill father in the United States.

Jon Nightingale, 21, a cleaner at the West Cumberland Hospital and his twin 18-year-old brothers Ian and Luke, received the news last week that their father Ian, also known as Max, was on a mechanical heart after suffering a devastating heart attack.

Ian was a hugely popular entertainer in the Whitehaven area and former fellow musicians are among those determined that his young sons get to his hospital bedside in Seattle.

With this heartbreaking news of his illness, his sons have also discovered that their father was a hero who steered his recovery truck into a tree to avoid hitting pedestrians in the area - “and he did this while he was having the heart attack,” his proud son Jon said.

Ian Nightingale, who is only 54, worked with Age UK and a was well known guitarist playing with White Orchid, a very popular band on the local scene, as well as in several other bands and duos.

He moved to the United States about eight years ago after a second marriage and drove a recovery vehicle.

Although they are in regular contact with their father, it is three years since he came home to Moresby on holiday and three years since they last saw him.

Jon said he and his siblings were desperate to get to his bedside but did not have the means.

“What I would really like is to be there when he is awake. When he had the attack he was given a 50/50 chance of survival but he is making some slow recovery.

“His eyes were open one day and my step-mother said he cried when he heard that his boys had been worried about him.

“With the eight-hour time difference it is difficult to get updates all the time but we are hoping that he will continue to improve, even though he is still critical.”

He said the family was grateful to those trying to help.

Long-time friend and fellow musician Scott Kinsella has organised a go funding page.

Julianna Kelly and Steve Burns, who both performed with Ian, have organised a fundraiser for Friday night.

“We have a lot of entertainers who knew him coming to perform. We need to get these boys to their father. They are just young lads and need our help, We need to raise £10,000 for fares and accommodation near the hospital,” Julianna said.

The fundraiser will be held at the Moresby Rugby Union Club starting at 7pm. Tickets are £5 and can be reserved or bought at the door.

The organisers are also appealing to local businesses and individuals for raffle prizes which can be dropped at the Solway Hall in Whitehaven, where tickets can also be purchased.

Meanwhile, anyone wanting to help reunite the sons with their ill father can do so by donating at