Parents pay tribute to their brave son

Matthew Hesmondhalgh
Matthew Hesmondhalgh

THE parents of a 22-year-old Catterall man have told told how they watched in horror as paramedics tried in vain to save their son after he collapsed on a night out.

Medics battled to resuscitate Matthew Hesmondhalgh for around 30 minutes, before he was taken to hospital.

Matthew, of Boyes Avenue, was enjoying a drink with friends at Owd Nell’s Tavern, at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet, in Bilsborrow, shortly before 10.44pm on Monday, August 15, when he fell ill.

One of his friends called his parents, Barry and Paula, who arrived at the pub to find paramedics trying to revive him on the floor. He was pronounced dead at hospital hours later.

Barry, 54, said: “We were at the hospital until 2am, but we never saw him alive.

“We thought he was alive but it was just in our hopes.

“They were working on him in Owd Nells, in the ambulance and at hospital for over an hour.”

Tearful mum Paula, 50, said: “We were thinking ‘Come on Matt, come back, where are you?’ The paramedics were wonderful with him, they really were.”

The couple’s youngest son Mark, 20, had been out when the tragedy happened. He only found out when his grandparents, who live next door, broke the news while his parents were still at hospital.

Matthew, a former Garstang High School pupil, had glandular fever at 14 and suffered post-viral fatigue for a year afterwards.

He studied a maths degree at Lancaster University, but was forced to leave towards the end of his second year when his health deteriorated.

Matthew had been hoping to return to university, but in the meantime was working part-time at an education charity, as well as doing a milk round in Catterall.

On the night he collapsed, his parents said he was in good spirits after feeling unwell.

Barry, who works for Preston Council as a technician plumber, said: “He rang at half past 10 and said ‘Can you leave the back door open? I have left my keys’.

“He has then gone back into the pub, we don’t know if he went back in and collapsed.

“We just don’t know.”

Matthew, who was popular throughout the area, regularly helped his grandparents Tom and Sally, and also helped out cutting lawns for other elderly people in the area.

He did several charity bike rides, including Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising more than £1,300 for Diabetes UK and North West Children’s Support Group.

Paula said: “He was quiet and conscientious, but he could still be the life and soul of the party when he was out with his friends. He had time for everyone.”

Barry, who had been teaching his son to drive and ride a motorbike, added: “He will not be forgotten by anybody who knew him.”

A post mortem examination was due to take place before an inquest into his death was opened.