A CANCER survivor who missed a work reunion he has been organising for seven years due to treatment hopes to see as many of his former colleagues at this year’s gathering.
Ian Campbell has featured in the Hartlepool Mail regularly over the last few years appealing for his ex-workmates from the now-defunct Foster Wheeler Products factory to attend an annual reunion.
Last year, around 30 former staff descended on The Clarendon, in Tower Street, Hartlepool, for the get-together but Ian, who is in remission from bowel cancer having been diagnosed in 2009, had to miss the gathering.
He was in the University Hospital of North Tees, having treatment while last year’s event took place.
But through the night, he had complications when he suffered deep vein thrombosis in his leg.
He got up the following morning and collapsed, having suffered a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of the main artery of the lung.
“The surgeon said if it had happened at home I would be dead,” said Ian, 62, from Queensland Road in Hartlepool. The Mail reported at the time that the lads who attended the reunion, unaware of Ian’s complications, signed a Get Well Soon card for him.
Ian, who is married to Sandra, said: “I was gutted that I couldn’t go last year.
“When Sandra came up with the card off the lads and one from the bar staff when I was in the high dependency unit, I was in tears.
“She also brought me the Mail and even my surgeon saw the article in the paper that night.”
Ian, who spent 12 days in hospital, including time in intensive care, had a filter fitted to stop further blood clots and is due a scan in a few weeks.
Now he is on the road to recovery and can’t wait to see his old friends at the next reunion.
It will take place at The Clarendon at 7.30pm on Friday, September 7.
Ian, who is dad to Debbie Campbell and grandfather to Joshua Tucker, seven, and Daniel Tucker, four, said since last year’s reunion, ex-colleague Harry Oxley, one of the oldest of the remaining Foster Wheeler men, had sadly passed away and he attended his funeral.
He appealed for people to make an extra effort to get along to the event as “nobody is getting any younger”.
He added: “I’m hoping for 40 to 50 people there”, added Ian, who worked as a turner and later a shop steward for Foster Wheelers from 1980 to 1990.
“Eddie Johnson was there last year, it was the first time he had been and I’m hoping he goes again.”
Foster Wheelers, which made generators for submarines and boilers and was based in Brenda Road, opened in the mid-1960s but closed around 25 years later following a short spell of management by Rolls-Royce.
Anyone wanting more information about the event can call Ian on (01429) 422074.