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Mother, 39, collapsed and died in front of her partner and three children after suffering a cardiac arrest while giving eulogy at her 81-year father-in-law’s funeral



By Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent For Mailonline

10:21 23 Jan 2024, updated 13:11 23 Jan 2024



A heartbroken mother collapsed and died aged just 39 while speaking at her father-in-law’s funeral service.

Mother-of-three Sarah Healey tragically suffered cardiac arrest during her eulogy to her children’s grandfather. She had no history of any  heart problems. 

Her family said life will ‘never be the same’ – and has been a ‘terrible blow’ to them all.

The nurse, from Staines, went to the funeral with her grieving partner James West, and their three children aged 16, seven and six.

But tragedy struck the family for a second time as she spoke at the service for father-in-law Roy West, 81.

Mother-of-three Sarah Healey tragically suffered a cardiac arrest during her eulogy to her children’s grandfather
Her family including her partner James, pictured together, said life will ‘never be the same’

What is a cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ. 

This causes the brain to be starved of oxygen, which results in sufferers not breathing and losing consciousness. 

In the UK, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur a year outside of hospital, compared to over 356,000 in the US.

Cardiac arrests are different to heart attacks, with the latter occurring when blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off due to a clot in one of the coronary arteries. 

Common causes include heart attacks, heart disease and heart muscle inflammation. 

Giving an electric shock through the chest wall via a defibrillator can start the heart again. 

In the meantime, CPR can keep oxygen circulating around the body.

Ms Healey’s mother, Gladys Healey, of Flintshire, said: ‘Sarah was one of those who spoke in tribute to the father of James.

‘However, Sarah suddenly fell to the ground during her eulogy.

‘It seems that Sarah had suffered an attack of arrhythmia or a cardiac arrest. She had no history of any heart trouble and we were all devastated by her sudden death.’

The horrific incident happened at Slough Crematorium. 

Mrs Healey continued: ‘It was a terrible blow to our family. It was a blow to her partner, who had just lost his own father.

‘It was a blow to the three young children left behind and it was a blow to her dad, Dave, I and Sarah’s younger sister, Trisha, who was at the ceremony with us.’

Ms Healey was a registered nurse and a highly qualified prescriber who had moved on to specialise in oncology and the treatment of cancer patients.

She was also developing her own aesthetics business and had a significant clientele at her clinic, Sarah Healey Aesthetics at Thames Valley Athletics Centre in Eton.

Her sister, Trisha Healey, said: ‘Losing my older and only sister has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced.

‘I spoke to her daily and we had an extremely close bond that only sisters will experience. 

‘Life will never be the same but I find planning things with friends, talking and crying when you need to with no shame has helped.’

Keen gardener Mr West died of cancer in October. 

Ms Healey’s father, Dave, said that he’s thrown himself into work and read a ‘great deal on the sudden loss of a loved one and the grieving process’.

Ms Healey was giving a speech in memory of Roy West, her father-in-law, who died of cancer in October
Mr West was a keen gardener. His funeral service was held at Slough Crematorium
Ms Healey and her partner had three children together
The entrance to Slough Crematorium in Berkshire where Ms Healey passed away

He added: ‘One of the most valuable things I have learned is that, rather than falling into absolute despair, you can try to do something worthwhile in memory of the loved one. I think it is important advice.’



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