Sidmouth councillor Stuart ‘lucky to be alive’

Councillor Stuart Hughes receiving his signed Yeovil Town FC shirt from manager Darren Way

Councillor Stuart Hughes receiving his signed Yeovil Town FC shirt from manager Darren Way - Credit: Archant

A tireless Sidmouth councillor feels lucky to be alive after he was struck down by pneumonia - and says he ‘can’t wait’ to recover and get back out filling potholes.

Despite suffering chest pain, Stuart Hughes continued with his busy schedule of civic duties and his 65th birthday celebrations - unaware he was seriously ill.

Waking up in agony, the Temple Street resident was rushed to hospital and he is now facing months of recovery before he is back to full strength.

Stuart, a town, district and county councillor, who has also had to put hosting his Bay FM breakfast show on hold, said: “What this whole episode brought home to me is just how precious life is and that everything else is secondary.

“We have a dedicated NHS service that we can truly be proud of and I have written thanking them for the marvellous care they gave me while in hospital.”

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Stuart, a keen walker and cyclist, had been getting aches and pains down his right side, so went to see his doctor, whose initial thought was that it was a muscular issue.

He returned to his busy schedule – including a beacon lighting for the Queen’s 90th birthday, a council meeting, Sidmouth’s first Be Well, Be Healthy, Be Fit festival.

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The father-of-two then went to a celebratory birthday lunch at his beloved Yeovil Town FC and was ‘bowled away’ when manager Darren Way presented him with a signed team shirt – but he was still in pain.

“I got home, crawled upstairs and into bed, believing the agony I had been experiencing would go and I’d be OK,” he said. “But early morning I had to ring 111 and explained to them what I was going through.”

Stuart’s temperature had hit 38.6C – the normal level is around 37 degrees – so paramedics suspected pneumonia and got him to hospital.

X-rays revealed that his right lung was full of fluid, virtually useless, and would have to be drained. He spent his 65th birthday and the next nine days in a hospital bed.

“I can only advise that if you feel any aches or pains in your chest, then go and get it checked at the earliest opportunity,” said Stuart, who is also Sidmouth’s first road warden – a county council scheme he is championing. I’m taking it easy as I’ve been warned it’s a long process to get back to full fitness. I’m lucky to be alive the state I was in. I can’t wait to get out filling some potholes, but one step at a time.”

He is now looking ahead to the Tour of Britain launch – which was rescheduled after he became unwell – that is now planned in Sidmouth for July 5.

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