Stag do tragedy of family man, Steve
FAMILY man Steve Dimmer died suddenly of heart failure while on a stag do this month – just a day after his son needed corrective heart surgery.
Steve was a fighting fit 46-year-old who was mad about motorbikes and motorsport, loved his job as a bus driver for youngsters with special educational needs at Crowdys Hill, and had become a familiar face as the vintage bus driver on the Adver’s Roadshow.
On the morning of Saturday, August 17 he left the house after saying goodbye to his wife Dawn and their two children Robert, 18, and Matthew, 20, and headed to Bristol to join one of the couple’s friends on a go-karting stag do.
But less than 11 hours later, a police officer knocked on the front door of the family home in St Andrew’s Ridge to say he had been found collapsed in his hotel room and paramedics had been unable to resuscitate him.
The days that followed left the family searching for answers, but Dawn, who married Steve in April last year after 21 years together, said the coroner confirmed he suffered from acute myocardial ischemia – a narrowing of the arteries that feed the heart, which can cause a cardiac arrest.
Dawn paid tribute to her husband yesterday as she described the agonising panic she went through while trying and failing to reach Steve on his phone that day.
The 51-year-old said: “It was just so sudden – he left the house at 10.30am and he rang me when he got there before the go-karting. Then he rang me later on at about 5.15pm and he said he had a bit of chest pain, which he thought was indigestion.
“He made a joke about ‘is it the same number to call an ambulance from a mobile as a landline’ which worried me a little bit. Normally you’d have to drag him to the doctors so I thought, that’s not like Steve.
“I phoned again at 5.45pm but had no answer so I assumed he was asleep. Then I phoned again at 6.45pm and he still did not pick up so I started to panic.
“I text my friend to ask her to get the stag party to check on him and then I got a phone call 15 minutes later saying they had found him in the bathroom and an ambulance had been called. My friend just kept saying ‘I’m so sorry.’ “I feared the worst but we did not hear anything until a policeman came to knock on the door at 9.30pm.
“When you see the police I thought ‘no, it cannot be true’ – they sat me down and told me Steve had died, and it did not sink in.”
Just the night before Dawn had returned home with Matthew, who was born with a congenital heart defect, following minor heart surgery in London, and they were able to see Steve before he set off for the stag do.
Dawn said she also takes comfort in that the family got to spend time together on a week-long holiday in Somerset just weeks earlier.
“I will always remember his smile and the twinkle he had in his eye, the mischievous look he had when you knew he was up to something,” said Dawn, an Adver newspaper sales rep.
“We had so much more ahead of us as newlyweds, even though we had been together for so long.
“He was mad about bikes and he had just got the Firestorm back on the road. We had talked about going away on our bikes somewhere.
“He loved doing things for other people and really enjoyed his job driving the bus for the kids. He made some special bonds with them and the old people he used to take to the Morris Street Club.
“I’ve had so many cards – everyone is so shocked, everybody who knew him loved him.”
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