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Daughter tells of father’s air ambulance rescue at Preston Marina after heart attack on his boat

Posted on - 13th August, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Charities, Health, Preston News, Riversway
Dennis Shiels pictured at Preston Marina just hours before falling ill Pic: Christina Shiels
Dennis Shiels pictured at Preston Marina just hours before falling ill Pic: Christina Shiels

A family have told of their heartfelt thanks to the city of Preston and its emergency services after a father and grandfather was rescued after having a heart attack aboard his boat.

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Dennis Shiels, 67, was taken ill onboard the boat at Preston Marina he co-owns with a friend.

Two air ambulances were lifted along with paramedics crews from Royal Preston Hospital during Tuesday July 2.

Mr Shiels suffered a cardiac arrest and sustained significant brain damage.

Air ambulances at Preston Docks Pic: Mark Barkworth/Blog Preston
Air ambulances at Preston Docks on July 2 Pic: Mark Barkworth/Blog Preston

Dennis was transferred to Airedale General Hospital in recent weeks after being stabilised at Royal Preston. This also means he is closer to the family home near Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

His daughter, Christina, said he is now awake and has been smiling and responding at times.

30-year-old Christina Shiels, from West Yorkshire, told Blog Preston: “We got the call and came across to Royal Preston.

“We’ve repeatedly thanked everyone involved because they have just been fantastic.

“From those involved in the rescue to those who have cared for our father in hospital, and also looked out for us.

“As we’re from outside of the area then the staff at Royal Preston there were arrangements made so we could stay.

“A couple of us lived on site for around four weeks and everyone from the medical to the clerical staff couldn’t do enough for us. I cannot speak highly enough of the care for my Dad and for us too.”

Christina with her father Dennis on a recent holiday to Wales Pic: Christina Shiels
Christina with her father Dennis on a recent holiday to Wales Pic: Christina Shiels

Mr Shiels had been working to fix up the boat, the Jubilee, before embarking on a round the British Isles voyage next year with his friend.

He retired three years ago after a career with Magnet Kitchens.

The father of five, and grandfather to six grandchildren, Dennis had thrown himself into sailing as a hobby.

The Jubilee was receiving some TLC at the Docks before Dennis and his friend's voyage around the British Isles Pic: Christina Shiels
The Jubilee was receiving some TLC at the Docks before Dennis and his friend’s voyage around the British Isles Pic: Christina Shiels

Christina said: “He was really looking forward to that trip.

“They had brought the boat down from Fleetwood to the Marina at Preston where it was having some work done.

“We would get pictures and updates about how it was all going.

“He was happy on that boat, glass of red wine in hand, he loved it.”

Read more: Mental health marathon to see laps round Preston Docks

Walking to show their thanks

Christina and her four brothers wanted to show their thanks to the emergency services, particularly the air ambulance crews.

The marketing manager decided to get a group of family and friends together to walk to raise funds for the North West Air Ambulance.

Christina and a team of eight others took on the walking challenge Pic: Christina Shiels
Christina and a team of eight others took on the walking challenge Pic: Christina Shiels

She said: “They saved my Dad’s life.

“We decided to take the route the Jubilee had taken and walk the 32 mile trip from Fleetwood to RPH.

“We did it on Friday 2 August, and we had good weather, but I don’t think my brothers were too thankful for the distance I had chosen in those last few miles!

“We wanted to give something back and we’re amazed at everyone’s support.

“Initially we thought we’d raise £1,000 but we quickly beat that and it’s now up to £5,500.

“When we were doing the walk we had people coming up to us and asking what we were doing, and there was so much support and interest. We are very thankful.”

The end of the 32-mile walk at RPH Pic: Christina Shiels
The end of the 32-mile walk at RPH Pic: Christina Shiels

Christina, speaking to Blog Preston just after visiting her father on Monday August 12 in hospital, said: “I’d just like to say a thank you to everyone for being so welcoming to us and for being so supportive. We can’t thank you enough.”

The Shiels family are continuing to fundraise, you can donate via their Justgiving page.

Read more: Docks to Disney walk sees hundreds take part round Preston Docks

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