Dad was recovering from a heart attack when he fell 20ft from a cliff

Gavin Monaghan recovering in the RVI Newcastle with his partner Joane Fossey and their son Kieran Fossey. Picture by FRANK REID
Gavin Monaghan recovering in the RVI Newcastle with his partner Joane Fossey and their son Kieran Fossey. Picture by FRANK REID
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A FAMILY day out at the beach turned to disaster when a dad-of-three fell 20ft from a cliff on to rocks.

Easington man Gavin Monaghan, 30, was told to “take time out” and “relax” by his doctor after suffering a heart attack six weeks ago.

He decided to go to South Shields with his family, but his plans were ruined when he tumbled over the cliff edge.

Gavin had been checking to see if the rocks and pools were safe enough for his children, Dale, eight, Keiren, nine and Shay, 16, when he climbed to the top, only for the rock face to give way and send him plummeting.

He managed to cover his head with his arms and said he is “lucky” to have only suffered a fractured shoulder, cuts and bruising.

He hopes to be out of Newcastle’s RVI within days.

“I feel lucky to be alive,” he said. “I was worried but thankfully I’m not injured as much as I could have been.

“My first thought was for my children. They might have seen me fall and I didn’t want them to be scared of anything.

“It was a horrible feeling, knowing you’re going towards rocks that could potentially kill you and you’re just waiting to hit the deck. I cannot believe my luck but others might say I am in the wars lately.”

Gavin, who was a self-employed builder before his heart attack, was taking time off to recover before this latest setback on Saturday.

After complaining of chest pains last month, he was given medication for a chest infection and thought it would clear up.

He added: “I thought it was just a virus. It was really bad at the time.

“I thought it would blow over but then I suffered a heart attack and the doctors said the virus had attacked the arteries in my heart.

“I am now on medication for the rest of my life. I would tell anyone who has concerns about their chest to see a doctor straight away.”

Gavin hopes to get out of hospital in the next few days.

He added: “Maybe I will stay away from the cliffs and just stay indoors.

“That way I won’t be in any danger of catching any infections or falling from any heights.

“I know the kids will be happy to see that and so will my partner Joanne.”