This weekend, Kingston resident, Richard Carrington, will embark on a tour of 14 London hospitals on his Brompton commuter bike, in support of Kingston Hospital Charity’s Ride for 75 fundraising initiative, to mark the 75th birthday of the NHS.
Richard said: “On Friday 22 November 2019 at approximately 7pm I had one of the 124,000 heart attacks that take place in this country every year. I had joined the ranks of the roughly 1 million men and 500,000 women who, according to the British Heart Foundation, have had one – a total of more than 1.5m people to set beside the 2.7m who live with coronary heart disease.
“I had just finished an hour of training at Lee Valley Velodrome and there was a pain in my back between my shoulder blades. As a sportsman I have had over 50 years of ignoring pain. I figured I had strained my upper back in the track session. I had to stop though as the pain was now starting to feel like I had swallowed a large rock, and someone was forcing their fist in between my shoulder blades. I continued on slowly, a few paces at a time, until I got to the ticket hall at Stratford International. Things got worse and I was trying to figure out what to do – I wasn’t thinking straight. I was feeling cold and clammy and in severe pain and highly agitated. I have never done this before, but I called the emergency services as my symptoms suggested I could be having a heart attack.
“The first aid courses I have attended over the past five years of running Youth and Juniors always go through heart attack symptoms and now I thank heavens they do!
“By this time, I was sitting on the floor feeling sick and hunched over. After an hour, the ambulance staff attended; time to put on a brave face, because that’s what you do, don’t you!”
Richard was taken to St Bartholomew’s Hospital’s coronary unit and after an initial assessment, was taken into the operating theatre to have a stent fitted.
Richard said: “The reason I am doing this is because I want to give a bit back – arguably the only reason I’m here is because of the NHS. I am doing it on a Brompton because this is about all the ordinary people like me. I want to represent all the commuters who live in this area.
“Highlights for me will be visiting St Bartholomew’s Hospital where I had my triple heart bypass and being outside Brompton Hospital with my Brompton.”
Richard’s tour will start at Kingston Hospital, at 7.30am on Saturday 18 March and the tour will take him to St George’s Hospital, University Hospital Lewisham, King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, St Bartholomew’s, Royal London Hospital, Whittington Hospital, Royal Free, University College Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross Hospital, and Queen Mary’s Hospital, before returning to Kingston.