Tributes have been paid to a popular and much-loved Scarborough athlete as his family prepares to fundraise in his name.
Paul Garrity, of Ayton, died aged 62 after five weeks in intensive care battling Sepsis.
Following his death his family are campaigning to improve diagnosis of the illness, which is a severe reaction to infection, that can treated and cured if recognised early.
As well as running the Great North Run for the Sepsis Trust, Mr Garrity’s family is travelling to the House of Commons to help the charity present a petition to ministers.
Following his death tributes have been paid across the town to the “loving family man” who was a proud father of three and grandfather of five.
Mr Garrity’s eldest daughter Angela said: “He was a true gentleman. Everyone knew Dad as being very honest and reliable, and one of the good guys.
“He was a big family man. His family meant everything to him and that always showed in everything he did.”
Colleagues at Plaxton have also paid tribute. Speaking on behalf of everyone who worked with Mr Garrity, Plaxton general manager Alan Atkinson said: “Paul’s passing has been a massive shock to everybody at Plaxton. We are a very close-knit community and he was very much one of the team here, a valued friend and colleague and a sad loss to all who knew him.
“The sudden and tragic nature of his death has touched us all and we are greatly honoured to support the charitable activities being undertaken by Paul’s family in his memory. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Mr Garrity’s family have paid thanks to everyone who attended his funeral, held at St Peter’s Church. A “good turnout” saw £550 raised for the Sepsis Trust.
Mr Garrity was a keen athlete, and a founding member of Scarborough Athletic Club. Just a week before he fell ill he completed the Scalby Nabs race, which followed numerous races earlier this year including the Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside 10ks.
In his youth Mr Garrity was also a talented footballer, playing for the Prince of Wales FC. His sporting achievements spanned many decades, with 1985 being a year of note as he won Player of the Year and Top Goal Scorer for Prince of Wales, while achieving top times in the Great North Run, which he completed in 1 hour 17 minutes, and the London Marathon with a time of 2 hours 53 minutes.
Following Paul Garrity’s death his family are campaigning to raise awareness of the illness which claimed his life.
Sepsis is a hidden killer, claiming 37,000 lives in the UK every year – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined.
Timely interventions, including antibiotics and intravenous fluids, can halve the risk of dying, yet they are given to less than one in seven cases.
Mr Garrity fell ill suddenly and was taken to Scarborough Hospital A&E on a Friday. It was not until Monday, when he was transferred to intensive care, that Sepsis was diagnosed.
He spent the next five weeks fighting for his life, celebrating his 62nd birthday in intensive care, and being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he died on July 11.
Mr Garrity’s wife Marilyn and daughters Angela and Joanne are now campaigning with national charity The Sepsis Trust to ensure patients get the care they need for early
They will be travelling to the House of Commons for World Sepsis Day, on September 13, to present a petition to ministers.
The petition seeks a commitment to ensuring that all patients get access to rapid care, which will require a co-ordinated national response including strategies to heighten awareness and investment in the development of seamless care pathways from home to hospital.
The Sepsis Trust believes that establishing Sepsis as a medical emergency and a clinical priority for the NHS is likely to save at least 10,000 extra lives per year, and yield annual savings to the NHS of more than £170 million.
Mr Garrity’s family are now urging people to sign the petition online in his memory.
His daughter Angela said: “Most people who get Sepsis can be treated with antibiotics if it is spotted early enough. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case with Dad.
“It was awful to see someone who was so fit and healthy deteriorate so fast, and it’s even harder knowing there is a chance this could have been prevented.
“There is nothing we can do for Dad, but we want to stop this happening to someone else’s family.
“We need 10,000 signatures on the petition for it to be passed as bill and become law, and we hope Scarborough people will help make this happen by signing their support.”
To sign the petition visit www.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19602
Great North Runners
Paul Garrity’s daughters are following in their father’s footsteps after signing up for the Great North Run.
Angela and Joanne Garrity have pledged to run this year’s Great North Run in their
father’s memory to raise money for The Sepsis Trust.
The sisters will be joined in their challenge by Joanne’s partner Josh Haking and family friend Helen Stubbings.
They will be running the 13.5 miles just days after presenting their petition to the House of Commons.
Angela said: “The Great North Run is the weekend after World Sepsis Day so we thought it was quite apt we do it.
“Dad was always running so it seemed the right thing to do in his memory.”
Mr Garrity’s love of running played a big part in his children’s lives. Angela explained: “Dad has been running for as long as I can remember. That’s what we did as kids – we’d go and watch him run. That’s why I’m a runner, and he coached Jo to run for the county in her youth.
“He was my inspiration and always supported me. We had a lot of banter between us when running, and were quite competitive. He beat me in our last race together, in the Scalby Nabs just before he died. We are hoping to all run together now, and raise some money for Dad.” To sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Garrity