Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles
Club News

#NHS70: Tigers share NHS experiences

Figure image

Today celebrates 70 years of the NHS and with one of Leicester's city centre hospitals just over the road from Welford Road, we caught up with Eric and Phil at Leicester Tigers who shared their experiences and thanks to the work of the NHS.

Eric Barker, 68 from Leicester, Tigers community events

"As a youngster, I was always getting treated for the obvious injuries – broken bones, cuts and scrapes – all you’d associate with the rough and tumble of the game of rugby. It wasn’t until my later years, when the NHS ultimately saved my life.

"In August of 2013, I fell very ill and was taken to first Glenfield Hospital and then the General Hospital where I was kept in for immediate treatment on my kidneys and lungs. I was one of the lucky ones and responded well to the treatment. During my time there, I said to myself that if I get out of here I want to give something back through my links with Leicester Tigers. 

"I approached the team at the Leicester Hospitals Charity Kidney Care Appeal about potentially becoming an official charity partner and last season we welcomed them on board. Throughout the season, the charity hosted events and collections at Welford Road helping to raise more than £20,000 towards the purchase of a portable dialysis machine.  

My father died at the age of just 56 from a heart attack and didn't get the chance to meet his grandchildren. Were it not for the hard work and dedication of the NHS, I would not have lived to see my granddaughter – so a big thank you!”

Phil Hutchinson, 66 from Wymeswold, Tigers matchday photographer

"I’ve worked at Welford Road for more than 20 years both as a fan and matchday photographer. During last season, I’d actually enjoyed some time off and was working my first match back, which was the clash against Northampton.

"About 15 minutes before kick-off, I felt tired and had a feeling of indigestion. I’ve always sat in the same place and turned to the fans behind me and said:  “I’m not feeling great – do you mind looking after my camera equipment?” I then made my way to the matchday ambulance situated to my left where I was quickly checked and monitored.
“It turned out I was having a mild heart attack and the paramedics – who were also looking after the injured Rob Horne – and the Welford Road first aid team looked after me before being transferred to the specialist cardiac unit at Glenfield Hospital.
“Tigers match against Northampton hadn’t even finished yet, in which time I’d been seen by the 24/7 hour cardiac consultant and team, had an angiogram, and later, MRI and Echo scans to examine my condition. 
“The quick actions of the medical team at Welford Road, as well as support from Eric Barker and Gary Sherrard on the Tigers team ensured that I got the treatment I needed.

With more than 25,000 people here on matchdays, it’s hugely reassuring to know that we are all in the safe hands of the Welford Road medical and first aid teams - all under the support and guidance of our NHS.”