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Tragedy as ‘fit’ dad drops dead after doing bench press

Dominic Smithers

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Tragedy as ‘fit’ dad drops dead after doing bench press

A man who desperately tried to save his brother after he collapsed in the gym has spoken of the devastating loss.

Martin Cleaver, from Widnes, was working out at Body FX gym in Runcorn back in August, when he began complaining of a pain in his chest.

The 43-year-old's brother Phil turned around and saw him fall off his bench and onto the floor.

Recalling the terrifying moment, Phil said he raced over and performed CPR before a first aider from a nearby pharmacy arrived.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the 40-year-old said: "Martin had just finished his set and sat on the bench, and I started mine.

"I heard him say 's**t' so I turned around and saw him holding his chest. He then fell straight forward off the bench.

Martin Cleaver was working out with his brother when he suffered a heart attack. Credit: Cleaver family
Martin Cleaver was working out with his brother when he suffered a heart attack. Credit: Cleaver family

"There was about five of us in the gym in total and we rolled him on his back, I went to feel for a pulse but there wasn't one.

"None of us were trained in first aid and we just started doing what you see on the TV.

"Another lad in the gym was doing chest compressions and I was breathing into his mouth. He started being sick and I thought that was a sign of him getting better, we cleared his airway but about ten seconds later his face went blue.

"It was mad because we were having a laugh one minute and the next minute he was dead."

An ambulance arrived on the scene and took Martin to Whiston Hospital, but sadly he was later pronounced dead, with doctors telling his family that he had suffered a heart attack.

"He was only 43, and I think the worst thing is that there were no symptoms and nothing wrong with him before he died," said Phil.

The gym has now installed a defibrillator following Martin's death. Credit: Body FX gym
The gym has now installed a defibrillator following Martin's death. Credit: Body FX gym

"He was just a normal lad with a 25-year-old son and he loved going to the gym.

"He was a good man, he was outgoing, good looking and well built. That morning he was up at 4am to take my son to Middlesbrough as he had a job up there."

Following Martin's death, the gym raised £1,790 to install a defibrillator, with a dozen members now fully trained to use it and to practice first aid.

Matthew Hayes, who is a personal trainer at the gym, said it was vital for the safety of staff and members.

"If this happens again, which hopefully it never does, we can reduce the risk of such a tragic event happening again," he said.

"Fire extinguishers are installed in every building, it should be the same with defibrillators."

Featured Image Credit: Cleaver family

Topics: UK News, Health

Dominic Smithers
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