Army veteran played Remembrance Day Last Post while having heart attack ... and was back for Remembrance Sunday parade in wheelchair

Even a heart attack could not stop veteran Darryl Cartwright playing the Last Post at this year's Remembrance Day service at Preston's Cenotaph.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 3:16 pm

The former army musician was determined to pay tribute to the fallen despite severe pains in his shoulder and arm.

He put it down to standing to attention, but then realised he was having a heart attack.

The medical emergency saw the 50 year old complete his duties playing the Last Post and Reveille and process back to the town hall before the alarm was raised.

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Bugler Darryl Cartwright pictured playing the Last Post at the Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph in Preston Photo: Neil Cross

Undeterred and after a few days in hospital he was back on parade - this time in a wheelchair to pay tribute at the Lostock Hall Remembrance Sunday event.

He said: "I was playing the bugle at the cenotaph on Remembrance Day. I could feel a few pains in my shoulder and armpit. At first I thought it's just because I've been stood rigid and I'd got a bit of a chill in there. The pain suddenly started to come down to my chest. I didn't want to come off parade. I played the Last Post with the pains, it was not too bad at that point. Then I played the Reveille, then I had severe pains."

Waiting until the ceremony was over he returned to the town hall and sat on a bench outside clutching his chest.

The alarm was then quickly raised with parade VIPs, the parade marshal and the mayor's party all rushing to his aid. Darryl, who is chairman of Lostock Hall Juniors Football Club, said: "I'd not had any symptoms. It was a shock for it to happen."

Back paying tribute - Bugler Darryl Cartwright (pictured next to the memorial) at the Lostock Hall Remembrance Sunday service - the day after being released from hospital following his treatment for a heart attack Photo: Neil Cross

He was taken into the town hall and an ambulance was called .He said: "It was going to be about an hour and a quarter .so they decided to get the defibrillator from the market and put me in the mayor's car to get to hospital."

As the car drove round the corner the ambulance had arrived. Darryl, who works for Lancashire County Council as a SEND (special educational needs)) sensory officer working with children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities across the county, said: "They transferred me, said I was having a mild heart attack and took me off to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I was there until Saturday night."

After his days in hospital and treatment he knew he could not play as planned at the Remembrance Sunday tribute at Lostock Hall or fulfil his annual duties as a parade marshal for the Lostock Hall British Legion. But he still wanted to honour the fallen and, with family support, he took part in the Remembrance parade in a wheelchair under the watchful eye of wife Roseann, who had already banned him from attending a reunion planned for Saturday night and a regimental parade at Barton on Sunday morning. .

He said: "She allowed me to go to Lostock Hall as long as I was in a wheelchair and didn't do anything. I couldn't have missed it."

Darryl was proud that his son Ryan, 25, stepped in to take his place as parade marshal. Daughter Caitlyn, 22 wheeled him round, with Roseann keeping a watchful eye on him. Their youngest son Lewis was unable to attend.

Darryl, who will have to go back for checkups in future weeks, paid tribute to those who had helped him, including a worker involved in the refurbishment of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery who gave him a first aid check at the town hall. He added: "All the staff at Blackpool were fantastic and in the coronary care unit they were wonderful...I can't say enough how good they were and how well they treated me."

Darryl served 12 years in the 14th/20th Kin's Hussars and King's Royal Hussars, was stationed in Germany and saw action in the Gulf War as a driver and medic. He said: "I was a musician and a combat medi .(a first aid role) I played the bugle, clarinet, saxopone and trumpet. I was just a cornet player in a brass band before that. Once I joined because I was good at the cornet they knew I could adapt to other instruments."

An arm injury in 1996 put a stop to playing the saxophone and clarinet but he was able to continue to play the cavalry trumpet and bugle and has been honoured to play the Last Post at the funerals of many veterans.

He added: "The doctor''s orders are I've got to rest for a week or two Then they're going to get me in to look at my physical rehabilitation and then in a month or so there will be some more checks ups ."

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