Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Dad died of heart attack day he was meant to meet son after five years apart

A son will cycle 120 miles to where his dad’s ashes were scattered on the 10th anniversary of his sudden death.

Will Neville, of Birmingham, was devastated when his dad Steve died after suffering a heart attack in 2010.

But tragically, Steve’s death fell on the day he was going to be reunited with his son after five years of being apart.

‘I was getting my shoes on to leave when a police officer came to the front door and told me that Dad had been found dead,’ said Will, who is now 31.

‘I had lost contact with Dad after my parents had split up in 2005. When I turned 21, I wanted a relationship with him, so I got in touch and we arranged to meet up.

‘It was devastating to receive that news and to know that I wasn’t able to say goodbye. You just never know how you’re going to react, especially when I hadn’t spoken to him in a while. But it hit me hard and I was in a state of shock.’

Steve, who was known to have been living with angina, was a court caretaker and lived alone in a flat in Oldbury.

He was discovered in his flat when colleagues became concerned after he had not turned up for work.

The keen cyclist was just 56 when he died of a cardiac arrest, caused by a heart attack. He leaves behind sons Will and Tom, who is now 32.

The family decided to scatter Steve’s ashes at Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire, which he considered his favourite place and would regularly ride out to.

But Will, who has a wife Charlotte and 18-month-old Ben, was unable to attend this as he was in hospital at the time, due to heart problems of his own.

Will, a homeless services manager, said: ‘I started to notice a pain in my chest which I ignored at first.

‘But throughout the day it got worse and I told my friend, who said I should get it checked out. I went to A&E and I was told that I’d had a heart attack, caused by the narrowing of the arteries in my heart.

‘I was told that my lifestyle at the time could have been a factor in this, as my diet was poor and I wasn’t exercising. After what had happened to my dad, I knew I had to make some changes.’

Will has since been discharged, as he has recovered from the heart attack after making some lifestyle changes, including taking up his dad’s beloved hobby.

So in memory of his dad, and to raise money for charity, he has decided to cycle from his home to Carding Mill Valley for the first time, to visit the spot where his dad’s ashes were scattered.

The event will be held on Tuesday, which is 10 years to the day that Steve died.

Will, who will be joined by family and friends for the event, has chosen to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, which is the largest independent funder of heart and circulatory disease research in the UK.

The BHF funds research into all heart and circulatory conditions, including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and the hidden risk factors which can cause them, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

Will added: ‘It feels amazing to raise money for the BHF and know that this money will help the charity fund research into heart and circulatory conditions, like those that have affected both myself and my dad.’

You can donate to Will’s fundraising page here.

The British Heart Foundation works to put patients first and fund research during these difficult times to help those living with heart and circulatory diseases. Find out more here.

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