The parents of a 22-year-old man today 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 Royal Preston Hospital.
Matthew, of Boyes Avenue, Catterall, was enjoying a drink with friends at Owd Nell’s Tavern, at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet, in Bilsborrow, shortly before 10.44pm on Monday, 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 hospital was really good they kept talking through everything they were doing.
“The paramedics were wonderful with him, they really were.
“You wonder how they can carry on, (for so long). They were doing their best.”
The couple’s youngest son Mark, 20, had been out on his motorbike 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, suffered glandular fever at the age of 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 recently feeling unwell.
Asked what he said before leaving for the pub, Paula said: “He said ‘Yes’ I am feeling loads better mum, see you tomorrow’.
“It is such as waste of a beautiful, beautiful boy.”
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.
At the age of 17 he volunteered as a Sunday School assistant at St Thomas Church, in Garstang, and 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, who works in the inclusion and disability support service at Lancashire County Council, said her son, who had also been a member of the Bilsborrow Young Farmers, would never be forgotten by his friends.
She 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. He had a good listening and he liked lots of hobbies.
“He would do anything for anybody.”
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 is due to take place before an inquest into his death is opened.