Saturday, September 19, 2009

Seizures suffered by a participant to: The Secret Millionaire

One of the county's richest women has spoken for the first time about the double blow of her latest terrifying health scare and the "devastating" death of her mum.

Hilary Devey revealed how she was rushed to hospital after suffering two seizures at her villa this summer in Spain, where she was recuperating from an earlier stroke.

The 55-year-old, who single-handedly set up Ellistown haulage company Pall-Ex, said she thought she was dying when the first fit happened as she was getting ready to go out for the day with friends.

She had a third seizure in an ambulance and was told she had to be resuscitated by doctors when her heart stopped during a fourth episode at the hospital.

Ten days after her ordeal, she was back recovering in her villa.

But then she was hit with another blow – a phone call from England to say her 82-year-old mum, Wyn Cross, was critically ill in hospital.

Unable to fly because of her bad health, she was driven by two friends non-stop for 25 hours from her home near Benidorm, in a mammoth 1,400-mile journey to make it to Wyn's bedside at Queen's Hospital, in Burton-on-Trent.

She got there in time to say her final farewell. Her mum, who had been poorly for many months and suffered heart and kidney problems, died two days later.

Ms Devey, who lives outside Burton, said: "I was not in a good way myself, but I knew I had to get there to be with my mum."

Ms Devey's problems began this year after a tummy tuck operation in January. Weeks later, the wound became infected and she ended up in intensive care after a stroke.

After many weeks under observation in hospital, she was released. She was days into her stay in Spain when the seizures happened in July.

She said: "It was terrible. The seizures came completely out of the blue. I thought I was dying.

"I don't really remember the one in the hospital but there were friends there who told me they'd had a team resuscitate me after my heart stopped."

Ms Devey had the phone call about her mum a few weeks later.

She said: "It wasn't safe for me to fly, or to drive because of my health, but I thought I'd just have to take a chance and get on a plane. I had to get to my mum.

"We went non-stop through Spain and France. As soon as she saw me, she perked up. She'd been holding on for me, but it was clear she didn't have long left.

"The last thing she said to me, the day before she died, was that I looked beautiful. I told her I loved her and I didn't want her to leave me."

Wyn died on August 13. Ms Devey, whose father Arthur died of stomach cancer when she was 17, said nobody could be sure if her seizures were directly linked to the stroke she had this year, but doctors told her it could happen again.

She said she was determined to continue in her role with Pall-Ex, which she started in 1996 and now has an annual turnover of more than £100m.

She said: "I'm just glad I got back to see my mum in time – for that I'll be eternally grateful."

Ms Devey gave more than £130,000 to good causes last year on Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire.


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