Widow’s charity provides a life-saver at Witney sports ground

Nikki Rouse Thompson, whose husband died while playing football at Burwell Meadow in Witney, has had a defibrillator installed there. She is pictured with Paul's brother, Matthew Thompson    Main picture: OX69372 Damian Halliwell

Nikki Rouse Thompson, whose husband died while playing football at Burwell Meadow in Witney, has had a defibrillator installed there. She is pictured with Paul's brother, Matthew Thompson Main picture: OX69372 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

TWO years ago, Nikki Rouse Thompson’s life changed forever.

Her husband Paul Thompson, 38, died when he collapsed during football training due to a rare form of heart failure.

But now the mum-of-four, from nearby Aston, has tried to stay positive as she installed the first of six life-saving defibrillators at the scene of his death.

Mrs Rouse Thompson, who is targeting sports grounds, said: “We’ve had to start a new kind of normal because our life will never be the same again without Paul here.

“Our family life is just so different now and we all miss him very much every day – whether it’s mealtimes or family holidays.

“He was literally just taken in a split second and our whole lives changed in that moment.

“This is just the start of what we want to achieve – hopefully it will catch on so every sports club sees a need for them.”

Mr Thompson, who had a seven-year-old daughter called Lilli, worked for his father Michael’s Chipping Norton-based firm Thompson Heating and Plumbing Ltd and played bass in two bands.

Oxford Mail:

  • Paul Thompson collapsed and died while playing football

He played for Witney Royals Football Club with his brothers Matt, 26, and Chris, 23, and stepson Eddie Rouse, 18, trained with them.

He was training in Burwell Meadow when he collapsed on July 17, 2012, and was pronounced dead in an ambulance taking him to hospital.

A St John Ambulance volunteer who lived nearby was alerted and shocked Mr Thompson with a defibrillator she owned but it was too late.

An inquest recorded that Mr Thompson had two minor heart valve abnormalities, which contributed to his death.

Mrs Rouse Thompson, a registered nurse, set up the Legacy for a Legend charity with her husband’s friend Steve Hawkins in November 2012 and has raised £12,000.

The charity has used qualified trainer Nick Thompson – no relation to her husband – to give free first aid lessons to 40 people and wants to safeguard sports teams and communities.

The first defibrillator was installed at Burwell Meadow yesterday and two more have been earmarked for sports grounds in Milton-under-Wychwood and Ducklington.

Another three devices are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Mrs Rouse Thompson said: “We will never know if it could have saved him but by having a defibrillator at the ground he could have been treated a lot quicker. It’s something that will be there for people if needed because the closest one is in the centre of Witney.

“My vision is for every sports ground or playing field to have a defibrillator or one nearby within easy distance.

“But it’s not just for footballers and people taking part in sports, it’s for the whole community.”

Mr Thompson’s brother Matt, who lives in Woodstock, raised about £8,000 split between the charity and Rotary Charity Fundraisers by taking part in the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton on July 20.

He said: “I had never done anything like that before and had to learn to swim properly but I wanted to make him proud.

“He was always self-motivated and that spurred me on.”

The defibrillator appeal comes as South Central Ambulance Service divisional responder manager Dick Tracey is campaigning to increase the number of county machines from 120 to 320.

 

 

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

Our top stories

14 minutes to drive just a mile in Oxford - where are the worst congestion hotspots on our interactive map?

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 28th May 2015

MOTORISTS travelling into Oxford took a staggering 14 minutes to complete one mile on the Botley Road last year.

Car stolen after keys taken from house in Wantage

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:41pm Thursday 28th May 2015

A CAR was stolen after a burglary in Wantage, police said.

Botley Road goes from this to this just by adjusting traffic lights

Oxford Mail:

8:39am Thursday 28th May 2015

DRIVERS went from despair to delight in 24 hours as the huge traffic delays experienced on Botley Road on Tuesday disappeared yesterday.

Anti-fossil fuel protesters plan protest at Didcot Power Station

Oxford Mail: Didcot Power Station

8:12am Thursday 28th May 2015

A PROTEST at Didcot Power Station at the weekend will be monitored, police said.

Touching scenes as family unveil plaque to tragic Oxford station worker Steve Cross

Oxford Mail:

8:08am Thursday 28th May 2015

FAMILY, friends and colleagues gathered at Oxford station to unveil a plaque commemorating a ticket barrier man who died earlier this year.

Parents' relief as inquiry to look into Nico Reed’s death in supported living home

Oxford Mail:

7:59am Thursday 28th May 2015

THE mother of a man who died in a supported living home has welcomed an inquiry into his death.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree