Former mayor’s brush with death

Picture Martin Bostock'Blackpool Victoria Hospital Cardio Thoracic surgeon Mr Nidal Bittar (left) and Len Jolley.' Mr Jolley, a former mayor of Wyre, suffered a heart aneurysm last Tuesday and was given a 50/50 chance of surviving a life-saving operation by doctors.

Picture Martin Bostock'Blackpool Victoria Hospital Cardio Thoracic surgeon Mr Nidal Bittar (left) and Len Jolley.' Mr Jolley, a former mayor of Wyre, suffered a heart aneurysm last Tuesday and was given a 50/50 chance of surviving a life-saving operation by doctors.

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It is a birthday he never thought he’d see.

Former Wyre Mayor Len Jolley turns 59 today, but just nine days ago he was given a 20 per cent chance of surviving while suffering a heart aneurysm at work.

The terrifying ordeal left surgeons working through the night to save his life.

But thankfully father-of-two Mr Jolley, from The Strand, Fleetwood, lived to tell the tale and is now recovering at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Speaking about his life-threatening nightmare, he told The Gazette: “My worst fears faced me – from going into work to the point where my life was in their hands.

“I was faced with never coming out of theatre ever again and never seeing my wife and family.”

Mr Jolley was taken to the Vic after feeling “shaky chest pains” while working at Greenwoods Menswear, on Abingdon Street, in Blackpool, on Tuesday June 18.

Once at the hospital doctors discovered his aorta artery had torn away from his heart, potentially leaving him just moments from death.

His wife Sue and children Mark, 27, and Emily, 23, were left with a terrible six-and-a-half hour wait while the operation took place overnight.

Mr Jolley, who served as Wyre Mayor in 1996, said: “When I woke up and realised I was still here it was an emotional and amazing feeling to know that really I’ve been given a second chance.

“I’d just like to say how appreciative I am of those in the cardiac unit at the hospital.

“Without the expertise and professionalism of the staff I wouldn’t be speaking today.”

Consultant cardiologist Nidal Bittar led the operation.

Mr Bittar said: “It was a nerve-wracking operation knowing that if this artery dissected there would be no other options for us to use to put him on the by-pass machine.

“He was very lucky to survive without having a stroke.

“This was one of the most stressful operations I have

ever done.

“I would like to thank the anaesthetist Dr Dale Watson, perfusionist Stephanie Witts, assistant surgeon Manoj Purohit, scrub nurse Analiza Villarino and the rest of the team, who all did an excellent job.”

To thank Mr Bittar, Mr Jolley is now pledging to support the surgeon’s Big Heart Bike Ride in Jordon which is raising money for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Heart of Gold Fund.

The fund aims to raise cash to enhance patient care at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre based at the Vic.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/MrBittarandMrDuncanBigBikeRide