West Hill woman’s thanks to ‘unsung’ blood bike heroes

Dan Lavery of Devon Freewheelers with Christina Willoughby. Ref shs 11-16TI 7700. Picture: Terry Ife

Dan Lavery of Devon Freewheelers with Christina Willoughby. Ref shs 11-16TI 7700. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Donation for ‘brilliant organisation’

A West Hill woman is donating to the ‘unsung heroes’ of Devon Freewheelers after unexpectedly receiving first-hand experience of their ‘brilliant’ work.

Christina Willoughby said she cannot thank the charity’s founder, Daniel Lavery, enough for coming to her aid when she suffered breathing difficulties at a meeting in which he was speaking.

The Herald reported last week how the Potter’s Close resident thanked Daniel for his quick actions in assisting her through her terrible ordeal, but Christina says she really wanted to express her gratitude in person.

“We want to make a donation to the charity as a thank-you,” said Christina.

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“When we were in the hospital, we were talking to the doctor and said thank goodness Daniel was there. The doctor said it is such a brilliant organisation.

“He thinks they do such a brilliant job and are unsung heroes. I had heard about them, but was not really aware of how important they are.”

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Devon Freewheelers’ county-wide service helps the cash-strapped NHS, providing a free service, delivering emergency blood donations for transfusions, donor breast milk to newborns, medication to patients and equipment to hospitals.

Christina was attending a West Hill women’s group meeting at the village’s Royal British Legion (RBL) hall, where Daniel was due to speak about his Honiton-based charity, when she started to experience breathing difficulties.

She said: “I left here in the morning and it was very windy. I went and got my friend from just a couple of doors away and said to her ‘the wind has taken my breath away’. I went into the RBL and I think the heat hit me and I fainted.

“I was in the right place at the right time. Daniel’s quick actions really saved me. He was very reassuring.

“The worst bit was when no one could get a signal to call an ambulance.”

She added that she cannot recommend highly enough a phone app called Medical ID that stores all of her medical history and proved invaluable in providing information for paramedics and doctors.

The women’s group was already raising money for the Freewheelers, but following her ordeal, Christina has taken the chance to make a personal donation to the charity and give her thanks to Daniel.

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