Neville – or Nev as most of us knew him – was born on 11th March 1970. He was known to be always on the go – always smiling, cracking jokes and would always help people out. He became the very, very proud father of his 3 beautiful children, Alex(17), Olivia(13) and Claudia(6).
I (Kirsty) met Nev in February 2005. We fell in love instantly and became inseparable. We were soulmates. I finally knew what love was and it was well worth the wait! Nev proposed to me 6 months after we met. He even drove down to South Wales to ask my dad for my hand in marriage. We were hoping to get married towards the end of this year.
Nev had worked for over 10 years at Pilkington Glass as an overhead crane driver. In February 2006 he took a very intense course to become a qualified tower crane driver! He was so happy and I was so proud of him! He travelled all round the UK driving tower cranes and climbing up heights of 180ft!
As I had had a stressful year working – I had bought the dental practice where I had worked for many years – and Nev had been working so hard and getting up at 4.30am to take two trains to work and again home at night, we decided to go on holiday to Jamaica for Christmas. Nev’s parents are originally from there and his dad still lives there for part of the year.
We had a fantastic holiday and now more than ever I am glad he got to see the country where he has his roots. Unfortunately our whole world was about to crumble during the early hours of Sunday 4th March. On the Saturday morning, Nev had gone to the gym by 8.30am and left me in bed. On the way home he washed the car, then we both went to the practice to do some jobs before going into town shopping.
We had a lovely day. I bought him some clothes for his birthday, which would have been the following Sunday. We were going up to Manchester the following Saturday to celebrate with our friends. We then went for lunch at a lovely restaurant. We ended up being there for over 2 hours – chatting away as usual. After that we came home and relaxed in front of the TV. We ended up going to bed by 10pm as we were shattered. We gave each other a kiss and said “Love you” as we did every night and went to sleep as usual.
At approximately 3.30am I was awoken suddenly by what I thought was Nev having a bad dream. I grabbed my glasses and put on the light and shook Nev. He then flailed and his eyes opened, then his lip sagged.
I was shouting at him to wake up, but obviously by this time I realised it was serious! I grabbed the phone from the side of the bed and phoned 999. I then dragged Nev off the bed. I realised he wasn’t breathing! I wasn’t sure if Nev’s lack of pulse was just me panicking!
I carried out CPR on Nev until the paramedics arrived. I ran to the door, opened it, then ran straight back to Nev and carried on with CPR. They came in and took over. They defibrillated him straight away. I was sat on top of the bed just rocking on my knees. I asked if he was alive and the paramedic’s exact words were “Not at the moment sweetheart!”
I was shouting “Please Nev fight, you’re strong, fight!” They kept trying with drugs and defibrillating. I was told to get changed and at that point I phoned my mum and dad (who live in South Wales). I’m not sure what I said, but I hadn’t said that he’d died at that point. They said they would come straight up. 3 paramedics then took us to Selly Oak A&E where it was like something from “Casualty” when we arrived.
The staff were outside waiting for us and a nurse then took me into the relatives’ room. She asked me what happened and I explained what I could. The doctor then came in and took some details. The nurse then took me back in to see them working on Nev. At that point I collapsed on the floor and had to be taken back into the room!
Shortly after, the news I was expecting arrived – the doctor came back in and said they could not get his heart back into a normal rhythm. He said Nev was in ventricular fibrillation when the paramedics arrived. Nev was pronounced dead at 5am. The doctor and nurse were very kind to me. She asked if I wanted to see Nev. They put a trolley next to him so I could lie with him. I lay there hugging and kissing him. He was still my Nev – still warm and soft! I look back now and cherish those few hours I had with my baby there on my own.
At about 6.30am my mum phoned from my flat. They had just got to Birmingham and asked what hospital I was at. I told her at that point Nev had died. She started crying and they came straight down.
They walked in the room to find me cuddling Nev. My Dad ran over to him. My mum grabbed me. Eventually, after all the paper work and so on, we had to go. I had to leave my baby there. The nurse made a point of saying she would look after him. I went to see him again before leaving and it was so hard to let go. I then went home and had to inform Nev’s family.
Fortunately he had left his phone on, so I called his sister first. I can hear her scream still today! I then drove to his mum’s, but his sister had already told her. It was chaos – everybody was in shock. Nev’s son Alex was staying with Nev’s mum, so when he walked in I had to tell him – and to top it off it was his 17th birthday that day!
I then had to go and tell Nev’s daughters. When we arrived, Helen – Olivia and Claudia’s mum – was just getting out the car. She looked at me puzzled. I then told her. We then went back to Nev’s mum’s and started informing everybody.
The following day, myself and Nev’s family went to see him at the hospital chapel. Nev was the youngest of 7, so there were quite a lot of us and as you can imagine it was very upsetting. The post mortem took place the following day and we were told later that afternoon that no cause of death could be found at that point, so there would have to be an Inquest.
We went to the Coroner’s court the next morning to open the Inquest and at that point were given an interim death certificate so we could arrange the funeral.
The next week and a half were chaotic. People were coming and going all the time! I was running on overdrive! Sunday 11th March – exactly a week after Nev died – was his 37th birthday. I decided to have all his family around and a few of my amazing friends cooked West Indian food! There were over 30 people in my flat that day and we made it as special as we could! On Monday 19th March I had to bury my darling Neville! The funeral was massive – over 400 people attended. People travelled from as far afield as Ireland. We had a party for Nev afterwards at one of his favourite old haunts. His old beatbox tunes (Nev used to be British Beatbox champion) were played and his old chums danced for him!
They played the tune Nev and me had decided to have our first dance to at our wedding. Everybody got up and I held a picture of Nev in my hands. It was as near as I was ever going to get to that first dance! It was a surreal experience but I know he would have been proud!
We found out about 3 weeks ago that, as expected, the cause of death was SADS. We are still waiting for the Inquest but it should be in the next few weeks.
Life at the moment could not get any darker. From the moment I wake up til the time I fall asleep I am constantly thinking about Nev and how this could have happened to the most amazing man in the world! My whole world has been torn apart and there is no normality in my life! It has made me question many things including any faith I had!
What keeps me going is the fact that I still have a choice – Nev doesn’t! Nev was, and always will be, the love of my life and I thank him for making me the happiest woman in the world! He used to say if I was happy he was happy! Nev wasn’t the sort of person to wallow in self-pity! This drives me forwards! The only thing I can do for Nev now is try to be there for his children and to make sure I look after myself as I know he would hate to see me so sad (impossible at the moment).
Also I can try to help prevent this happening to other people by increasing public awareness and fundraising! I would hate anybody to have to endure the pain that I am going through, so I am determined to help CRY. Without this website and related websites, I think I would have gone mad over the last few months, so thank you to all the people who have helped me by enabling me to read there stories!