Just days before he became ill he had been climbing trees with his grandchildren, but he succumbed to meningitis in just a few hours. His widow Linda tells their story.
“On Sunday morning, 31st December 2007, my husband Andy woke up feeling unwell and said he had a cold coming, He was sick in the afternoon and went to bed that evening. When he woke up on the 1st of January he was still feeling terrible and now had a headache, which he never had. He couldn't eat much, was cold one minute and then sweating the next.
“He lay down on the settee and then decided to go to bed, in his words to sweat it out. But it just got worse. I kept trying to get water down him. He got out of bed to be sick but didn't make it, vomiting all over the bedroom floor.
Lots of questions
“I rang the NHS helpline with lots of questions. They asked me to put the phone to his ear to talk to him, but he was delirious and couldn't talk or hear. A paramedic came and tried putting a drip in his arm but couldn't. I begged him to get Andy to hospital and he rang for an ambulance.
“They stretchered him down to the ambulance and I went in the front with the driver. The lady medic looking after him in the back kept saying ‘I'm struggling’. He had two fits and then was in a coma by the time we got to Derby hospital.
“Andy never regained consciousness again. This was about 11pm. It was not until 7am I was told he had meningitis. He had tests done to confirm he was brain dead.
Life support switched off
“He had his life support switched off after I had donated his organs. I was at the hospital for three days.
“It’s the worst nightmare anyone could have. It will be eight years on 2nd January 2016, the day they gave me for his passing. Andy was 63-years-old, a very fit man. He was climbing trees with his grandchildren only three days before he took ill. He had played squash the week before.
“Part of me died with him - we had been married for 40 years, the love of my life. My grandchildren have kept me going.”