Royston family's fundraiser for much-loved wife and mum Paula after sudden sepsis death aged 57
PUBLISHED: 11:58 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 22 March 2018
The family of a Royston wife and mum who died unexpectedly of sepsis are taking on a series of challenges to raise money for treatment development and research into the condition.
When fit-and-healthy Paula Noble, 57, developed a pain in her neck in May 2017, she and her family had no idea she would pass away little more than a week later from a condition they’d heard little about.
Her husband Gary told the Crow: “I went on a golf trip to Portugal on the Sunday morning and by that night she had developed a pain in her neck. I said I would come back but she said it was fine and that she would go to the GP the next day.
“She did, and was told it was a muscle injury. When I came back a week later her speech was slurred and she looked like a little old lady. It was shocking.
“I regretted not coming home – I had no idea what was happening, none of us did.”
They went to the GP the following day who still thought muscle strain was the cause. By the Tuesday, Paula had developed a rash and an ambulance was called – paramedics said it was probably an allergic reaction, but her condition deteriorated further and she was taken to Lister Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
There the family were told that Paula was very sick, but they still didn’t know what was wrong.
Gary, 61, said: “I told Paula I loved her, but when we were told she wasn’t going to make it I couldn’t believe it. She had a massive cardiac arrest and died. I feel like she waited for us all to be there before she went.”
Paula and Gary met at a bus stop as teenagers, and started going out after Gary offered to pay Paula’s bus fare.
They married in 1979 and lived in Hertford and Hoddesdon before eventually moving to Royston in the early 1980s.
Gary said they worked hard to build a life together – he worked for a trading company, and Paula was a book keeper.
They had children Beccy, now 32, who lives with wife Emily, and Steven, 29 – whose wife Claire is expecting Gary and Paula’s first grandchild in the summer.
Gary said: “She took to motherhood like a natural. Everybody loved Paula, she was a very fun lady – with a wicked sense of humour.
“Beccy and Paula weren’t just mother and daughter, they were best friends.”
When the children were old enough Paula returned to work, and got a job at Royston’s Bruel & Kjaer. She gave up work in January 2017 and the couple planned to enjoy their retirement with golfing trips and holidays.
Reflecting on the tragedy that followed, Gary said: “She went into hospital at 9.30am on the Tuesday morning, and by 11am the following day she was dead. A long time after we found out it was sepsis, that a toxin had got into her blood and was causing her organs to fight against each other.
“I was stunned. I still have lots of questions – but it’s not about blaming people. I did meet with the consultant and the GP surgery afterwards.
“She was just so unlucky so we need to put money into this for research and life-saving drugs.
“We also need to make people aware, because most people don’t go into hospital knowing they have sepsis. In a bad case you can lose a limb, in Paula’s case she lost her life.”
The family are taking on a series of challenges to raise £5,000 for the UK Sepsis Trust. Gary’s main focus is the cycling the Gran Fondo 80-mile bike race of Cambridgeshire in June, which son Steve is also taking part in. Daughter Beccy is running the London Marathon on April 22, as well as other events.
The Team Paula fundraising pot will also be awarded £500 by the Mayor’s Community Trust Fund at the Royston annual town meeting at the Town Hall this evening.
To add to the total go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamPaulaSepsisTrust