Wife of Leeds man Paul Thompson speaks of heartbreak after 'hero' dies suddenly and donates organs to save lives

The grieving wife of a Leeds man who suddenly died soon after sharing pictures of his unborn child has spoken of her heartbreak and pride as his organs will now be donated to save lives.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 12:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 1:36 pm
Lisa Thompson with children Ava-Grace six, Isabella, 12, and Andre, nine. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Hours after their latest baby scan, doctors told Lisa Thompson that her husband Paul was going to die after collapsing at a bus stop in the city centre.

The 49-year-old father suffered a spontaneous intracranial haemorrhage last week and died on Thursday May 16.

Mrs Thompson, 38, said: "The consultant came in and said to me: 'I'm very sorry, I've some sad news to tell you but Paul is very poorly'.

Paul Thompson, who died last week. Picture contributed by family.

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"He explained what had happened about the vein bursting. 'He's got a massive bleed on his brain and he's going to die'."

She added: "It was just as if I was in a bad dream hearing these words, thinking, this can't be happening, we've just seen our unborn child."

Health workers asked the family whether they would consider donating the organs of Mr Thompson - a former landlord at pubs around the region who did not drink or smoke.

The family took the decision on his behalf to donate his lungs, kidneys, pancreas, heart and heart values to those in need because Mr Thompson was "such a caring man".

LGI maternity support worker Mrs Thompson, of south Leeds, said: "Everybody has said: 'That is what Paul would have wanted'.

"It was just the kind of man he was."

They also came to the decision because in 2006 the couple had lost a daughter, Gabrielle, to Turner syndrome - a rare disorder affecting about one in every 2,000 baby girls.

Mrs Thompson said: "If there is a heaven and if there is somewhere we go, he would be looking down thinking 'I've helped a child'. Because he's lost a child.

"I think that would be quite touching for him, because we never got over our first born with this rare condition."

Since losing their first baby, the pair had been anxious with every child Mrs Thompson became pregnant with, but they went on to have Isabella, 12, André, nine, and Ava-Grace, six.

Mrs Thompson - who was this week supposed to be in Turkey with her husband celebrating 17 years of marriage - is three months along with their latest child.

The scan last week indicated the baby was healthy and her husband had been "proud as punch" showing the scan photographs at the school gates on the day of his collapse, Mrs Thompson said.

Mr Thompson was a Sunderland native, but the couple met at the Penny Hill in Hunslet when his wife was 21.

"I didn't know what a Mackem was," she said. "I couldn't tell you what he said on our first date."

But she added: "Paul has made me into who I am. He's given me that strength and that courage to get behind that bar and face people and face my own demons and become who I am."

Mr Thompson ran Leeds pubs such as the Penny Hill, the Black Bull in Rothwell, the Wheatsheaf Inn in Gelderd Road, the Winston in Knottingley and the Boy and Barrel in Selby.

He was most recently a kitchen manager for Tesco in Ilkley, and was meant to have a party last weekend before his 50th birthday on June 2.

The family wished to thank the neurocritical care team on wards L6 and L7 at Leeds General Infirmary.

It is believed that during his collapse Mr Thompson, who the family now refer to as a "hero", was able to say his first name to someone who called an ambulance, possibly outside Kirkgate Market, where it is thought he was waiting for the 51 bus towards Morley on Wednesday May 15.

His family would like that person to come forward so they can say thank you.

Mr Thompson's funeral will take place at Cottingley Crematorium on Friday May 31 from 12.20pm. Attendees are asked to wear normal clothes and not formal dress.