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Father and son lose weight in memory of mum who died too soon

Nicola Batey

Nicola Batey

A MUM who planned to tackle her weight just before her premature death has inspired her husband and son to slim down and save their own lives.

Tom Batey urged son Daniel to take part in the Echo’s weight loss challenge after he watched wife Nicola, 43, die in his arms.

Nicola, who weighed about 22st, had been determined to lose weight in the weeks before her death.

Tragically, she collapsed and died at the family’s Ryhope home after a blood clot travelled from her leg to her heart.

Devoted husband of 25 years, Tom, tried desperately to revive the mum-of-two, while son Daniel rang for an ambulance. But despite their best efforts, nothing could be done to save Nicola, who died in Tom’s arms.

Knowing her weight could have contributed to the residential care officer’s death, the father and son are determined to slim down after entering Sunderland’s Biggest Loser.

Speaking about the moment he found his wife, Tom, 49, a sports coach, said: “At first, we thought she’d just fallen. Then her lips started turning blue.

“I tried CPR for five minutes. After two minutes, I knew she’d gone – but I couldn’t give up.” Prior to her death on February 8, the family had been aiming to tackle their weight together. Nicola was hoping to have gastric bypass surgery and all three were planning to start gym sessions together.

While blood clots can happen to anyone, research shows that overweight people are more at risk of developing the potentially fatal condition.

Though still struggling to come to terms with the mum’s tragic death, Tom and Daniel, 21, are determined to continue with her final wishes.

After spotting an article in the Echo, Tom entered Sunderland’s Biggest Loser, a competition we’ve set up with Fitness 2000 gym in Roker to help Wearsiders who are struggling with their weight.

Along with the eight other finalists, the father and son are attending a year of gym sessions and nutritional guidance classes in a bid to lose as much weight as possible.

“Though we are grieving, our aim has not changed and now we want to do this in memory of Nicola,” said Tom, who is also dad to Nicol, 23. “I, in particular, do not want to see my son go down the same path his mother did. I feel I need to help and support him, more than I could where his mother was concerned.”

Daniel, who has autism, says his mother had always encouraged him to be comfortable with himself and that he wants to keep her fighting spirit alive.

“I am so passionate about this because mam was a fighter,” he said.

“This has been the worst experience of my life and so hard. Everything changed that day.

“From the beginning of my life, I’ve always been different, the one person who made me accept myself was my mam. But I know she wanted me to lose weight.”

Tom, who weighs 14 stone, and Daniel, who is 18 stone, have been encouraging each other in gym classes, provided for free by Fitness 2000.

Tom said: “I wasn’t sure how Daniel would cope with Nicola’s death, but he’s been my rock. When I’ve felt like giving up in class, he’s shouted at me to encourage me to continue.”

At the end of the year, the person crowned as Sunderland’s Biggest Loser will win £1,000, a free gym membership, a photo shoot with David Lawson Photography and a hair makeover with Jen Deighton Hairdressers for the shoot.

 

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