Please view our cookie policy that explains what cookies are and how they are used on our website. This also provides you with a guide on how to disable cookies, but please be aware that parts of the site will not function correctly if you disable them.

By closing this message, you consent to our use of cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Family's thanks to hospital rugby star

Family's thanks to hospital rugby star

Posted on Monday 15th October 2012
Marc Shackley

Back L-R: Sue Den Boer (Staff Nurse, ICU), Marc Shackley and Sharon Robinson (Staff Nurse, ICU). Front: Yvonne and Keith Matthews

The family of a seriously ill patient have paid tribute to hospital staff who brought her ‘back from the brink’ – including a hospital maintenance man who also happens to be a local rugby league star.

Yvonne Matthews had been on life support in the Intensive Therapy Unit at West Cumberland Hospital for three weeks after a suspected heart attack when she suddenly began to make a rapid recovery after a visit from Marc Shackley – maintenance assistant and Workington Town player.

After a member of the ITU nursing team mentioned to Marc that Mrs Matthews was a huge fan of the West Cumbrian club, he stopped by the unit to spend some time talking to her and left her a signed photograph.

Mrs Matthews’ husband Keith said: “She had been unconscious for three weeks then after Marc came to see her, they were able to take her off life support. He has played a very big part in bringing my wife back.”

Since Mrs Matthews was discharged from hospital, Marc has called the couple to send his best wishes, and promised to visit Mrs Matthews at home when she is well enough.

Mr Matthews said: “We can’t thank Marc enough. He probably doesn’t realise the thing he has done has been massive in helping my wife’s recovery.

“But it wasn’t just Marc - I want people to know how brilliant all the staff are. I want to go to the top of the highest mountain and shout about it. From day one when I got the sad news that she might not live, all the hospital staff have been brilliant. They explained everything to us; nothing was a problem to them.”

Now Mr Matthews, a well-known charity campaigner and fundraiser in West Cumbria, has vowed to raise money for communication equipment for patients at West Cumberland Hospital who have difficulty talking, which he and his wife found very useful during her stay. He is organising concerts, coffee mornings and hopes to stage a friendly match between Workington Town and Whitehaven rugby league clubs to raise funds.

Steve Dougan, Head of Estates and facilities at West Cumberland Hospital, praised Marc for his actions. He said: “It’s nice that a member of non-clinical staff could find the time out of their busy working day to offer just a little piece of support to Mrs Matthews and her family. I have told Marc that he should be extremely proud of his actions and he really did make a lasting impression on Mrs Mathews and her family.”

Sheena Todhunter, Lead Nurse for Theatre, ICU and Critical Care Outreach, said; “This is an excellent example of how two teams have worked together to provide holistic patient care. This level of team working is a credit to the staff of West Cumberland Hospital.”