White Island tour guide writes heartfelt message from hospital bed

Jake Millbank.
Jake Millbank. Photo credit: Givealittle

A teenage tour guide who was on Whakaari/White Island when it erupted has written a heartfelt thank-you message from his hospital bed.

Jake Millbank, 19, sustained burns to 80 percent of his body while working as a guide for White Island Tours.

He moved to Middlemore Hospital's National Burns Centre a few days ago after previously being in an intensive care unit.

A Givealittle page was set up by a family friend to help support Millbank and his family, and it has raised nearly $140,000 so far.

In a message uploaded to the page written by Millbank, he gave a "big thank you" to everyone who had been supporting him.

"We are grateful for the kind donations received through the Givealittle page and I am enjoying reading the awesome messages and comments that have come, they've really helped me," he wrote.

A "big step" in his road to recovery was moving out of the ICU.

"So far I have had 14 visits to theatre - sometimes the surgeons are grafting parts of my body and other times they are changing my dressings and checking out the progress of the work they have done."

His fingers are no longer bandaged and he's been able to use his iPad to catch up with his friends.

"Thank you so much for your kindness - it means a lot to me."

Millbank is one of 24 people who remain in hospital in New Zealand and Australia following the eruption. The death toll stands at 18.