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Tributes to skateboarding ‘super dad’ Ben after sudden heart attack aged 45

Ben Carey with wife Heather and children James and May
Ben Carey with wife Heather and children James and May

TRIBUTES have poured in for a man described as a “superhero dad” who was struck down by an unexpected heart attack at the age of 45.

Ben Carey, the site manager at New Milton Infant School and a keen skateboarder, was rushed to A&E after his wife Heather had managed to restart his heart during the incident at their home in Bashley.

He remained in a coma at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital but there was too much damage to his brain following the loss of oxygen and he could not recover.

Following Ben’s death in mid-February his family donated his kidneys, offering the gift of life to two recipients. He left a daughter, May, and a son, James.

Heather remembered: “Ben was fit and well that day. We ate pancakes together with the children and then he did the bedtime routine with them and had an early night.

“It was a huge shock but we have received such incredible support and kindness from everyone – the nurses at hospital, our neighbours in Bashley and, of course, our friends and family.

“Ben was the most kind and caring man, that is what most people will remember of him. He would stop and offer to help. He was loved on our road by all the neighbours.

Ben was a keen skateboarder
Ben was a keen skateboarder

“One remembers how he stopped and helped when their car had broken down. He was first to raise the alarm and on the scene when the village shop was broken into. He helped with shopping and would always stop for a chat.”

Last Friday friends and neighbours from Bashley lined the street to say goodbye to Ben as his funeral car passed by, with the post office and garage shutting out of respect during the drive-past.

Amy Wake, head teacher at the infant school, said: “Ben was our much-loved site manager for six years. We were privileged working with the kindest, most gentle man who always talked so lovingly about his family.

“He enjoyed his job and took great pride in making sure the school was well cared for and he always made us feel safe. Ben really was an integral part of our school and we are missing him dearly.

“We will be fundraising for the family’s chosen charities through our ‘Bunny Run’ before Easter and we are liaising with the family on ways to honour his memory in school. Our love and thoughts are very much with his family at this difficult time.”

Born in July 1975 to parents Jackie and Terry, from an early age Ben enjoyed outdoor adventures and riding his mum’s horse.

He started skateboarding in his teenage years and was hooked from the very start. He made lifelong friends through the sport and built ramps in his garden so he and daughter May could practice together.

His love of skateboarding later developed into a passion for winter sports and he regularly visited Tignes, France, to snowboard with friends.

Heather said: “The mountains were his happy place, he loved being out there.

Ben 'always talked so lovingly about his family'
Ben 'always talked so lovingly about his family'

“Willie, another one of Ben’s great friends, remembers Ben giving him his first board because he’d just bought a new one and knew that Willie wouldn’t be able to join them without a board. He was always so amazing and generous.”

Ben met Heather via an online dating site in 2011, and the couple enjoyed their first date at the Haven in Mudeford. Two years later Ben returned from a five-month snowboard season in Morzine, and the couple moved in together.

After working in various jobs, Ben was thrilled to be offered the role of site manager at New Milton Infant School.

In June 2015 Heather and Ben welcomed May into the world. It was a traumatic birth and Heather was rushed back into hospital for emergency surgery.

It was while Heather was in Poole Hospital’s intensive care unit that he proposed to her, and she recalled: “Ben continued in his wonderful role as super dad, he took it all in his stride and was always calm about having to look after a new-born on his own.”

In 2017 Ben and Heather were married in a field surrounded by family and friends. A few months later they completed their happy family when son James was born in April 2018.

Donations in Ben’s memory can be made to the League of Friends Lymington Hospital cardiac scanner appeal at www.lymingtonhospitalfriends.org, the Skateboarding Foundation or the British Heart Foundation.

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