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Luton Town’s captain Tom Lockyer says he ‘literally died’ when heart stopped for nearly three minutes | UK News

Luton captain Tom Lockyer has said he “literally died” when his heart stopped for nearly three minutes on the pitch.

The Welshman, 29, collapsed in the 59th minute against Bournemouth on 16 December, with his father and seven-month pregnant girlfriend watching on as the game was called off.

Lockyer was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator after he was in hospital for five days, just months after also collapsing – but returning – against Coventry in May last year.

Speaking to Sky Sports News for the first time at length since December, he said his heart stopped beating for two minutes and 40 seconds and isn’t sure he will ever play again.

But the ordeal was “hardest” on his family.

“My mum was at home listening on the radio, she went off to make a cup of tea after Bournemouth scored, and when she came back my brother had turned the radio off,” he said.

“She asked ‘why’, and he had to say to her that Tom has gone down off the ball again.

“This is the bigger picture that people don’t see and that is the hardest part to deal with. I am not going to lie, it has been a tough couple of months.”

Fans stand with a banner for Tom Lockyer. Pic: PA
Image:
Fans stand with a banner for Tom Lockyer. Pic: PA

Recalling what he could remember from the collapse against Bournemouth, he said it was “just a normal day”, which is “the most worrying thing” as he felt “completely fine”.

He said he was running towards the halfway line when he began to feel light-headed.

He then woke up to paramedics and “knew instantly” it was different to his collapse against Coventry.

“I have been looking for answers since but I have not been able to find any because it was just another day at the office,” he said.

“Last time it felt like I woke up from a dream, and this time I woke up from nothingness.

“I could see there was more panic and I was a bit disorientated. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. I was trying to work out what was happening, and I remember thinking, ‘I could be dying here’.

“It was a surreal thought to have, not being able to respond, and you can see the panic going on.”

His voice cracked as he continued: “I could feel them put the drip in my arm and it was a hard mix of emotions.

“Eventually I came round and I was able to speak and to respond. When I felt okay, it was then a relief I was alive.”

“I literally died, but I have been numb to the whole thing since,” he added.

Lockyer had an emotional reunion with his teammates at the Luton’s training ground last month – his first visit since he collapsed.

The defender hopes to return to top-flight football, but said he will have further tests before he has an answer.

Luton Town manager Rob Edwards enters the field of play as his player Tom Lockyer receives treatment on the pitch during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Saturday December 16, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Steven Paston/PA Wire..RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
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Tom Lockyer receiving treatment on the pitch during the match against Bournemouth. Pic: PA

Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United, he said: “It is out of my hands [if he plays again].

“I am going to be dictated to by the medical staff and specialists. If there is a chance I could play again – and I am not going to do anything against medical advice – then I would love to.

“But it is far too early so say. There are tests that have to happen in the background. But I wouldn’t write it off yet.

Read more:
Tom Lockyer thanks ‘heroes’ who saved his life

“If I am not allowed to play again then I can say I captained Luton in the Premier League and I have scored a Premier League goal.

“I am very fortunate that I have had high moments in my career and scoring a Premier League goal is something you dream of as a kid.

“I am incredibly grateful to be alive. I have the device fitted now, and I almost feel invincible.”

Locals at risk of being priced out of Britain’s prettiest coastal towns | UK News

A pandemic property boom and the rise of short-term holiday stays in some of Britain’s prettiest coastal towns is now at risk at pricing locals out of the countryside. 

When Emma Dee Hookway struggled to find a place for her family in Braunton, where she had lived most of her life, she set up a Facebook page to see if others were in the same boat and received hundreds of replies.

Two years later and now a housing activist in North Devon, she says things have only gotten a lot worse.

Emma Dee Hookway
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Emma Dee Hookway

The pandemic has caused a reappraisal of city living, as well as a newfound appreciation for Britain’s seaside towns.

It’s a potent mix that has caused short-term holiday stays to soar, and that sudden demand has pushed up the average cost of housing in coastal areas of Devon beyond what some locals are able to pay.

Landlords can often get more money renting short-term than to locals all year round.

Ms Hookway says she doesn’t begrudge landlords because they are only making sound financial choices, but says the housing stock has depleted as a result.

It’s not a small problem.

Matt Dodd, from the Devon Housing Commission, said they’ve seen an increase of short-term holiday stays increase by 35% in two years. That’s led to 50% fewer homes available on the private rental market across the county.

In North Devon, the number of properties switching from long-term to short-term letting is as high as 67%.

The government is consulting on a new registration scheme for short-term lets that it says will provide local authorities with data to help them to identify the impact of high numbers of short-term lets.

It is also looking into new powers to require a planning application for short-term let conversions and say they will report their findings “in due course”.

But Simon Jupp, the Conservative MP for East Devon, says he wants to see the government move faster in this area.

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Simon Jupp, Conservative MP for East Devon
Image:
Simon Jupp, Conservative MP for East Devon

The ‘Sea Wall’ and the election

For coastal regions, housing is shaping up to play a major role in an upcoming general election.

Research by the Fabian Society shows that 108 constituencies in England and Wales that contain at least one coastal town would like an ambitious housing policy, focused on tackling the real challenges faced by coastal communities.

Though the boundaries will change slightly at the next election, the research shows “Sea Wall” voters tend to favour more housebuilding and investments – especially in social housing.

New research exclusively shown to Sky News found 67% of those living in the Sea Wall support a “large increase in the amount of new social housing being built in Britain”, compared with 23% opposed.

When asked how easy it should be to obtain planning permission for affordable housebuilding on open areas surrounding towns and cities where the building of new homes is currently prohibited or restricted (such as the green belt), 49% of those living in the Sea Wall said they would support planning permission in certain circumstances, while 14% said it should almost always be given.

Some 65% of those living in the Sea Wall also thought their local area received less than its fair share of government money. Only 1% said it received more than its fair share.

Most of these coastal areas are currently Conservative strongholds – but according to the research, the party is at risk of losing some of its majorities over this issue.

The dearth of long-term rentals – coupled with pre-existing pressures on social housing – could play a part in a potential sea change election.

55 ‘overlooked’ towns to get £20m each – is yours on the list? | Politics News

More than 50 “overlooked” British towns are going to receive £20m each over the next decade to revive their high streets and tackle anti-social behaviour.

Factors including skills, pay, health and deprivation were examined to ensure the funding – announced as the Conservative Party conference gets under way – goes to the places that need it most.

A total of 55 towns will receive a share of the funding – with 44 in England, seven in Scotland, and four in Wales.

Is your town included? Here’s the full list:

• Mansfield

• Boston

• Worksop

• Newark-on-Trent

• Chesterfield

Skegness
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Skegness

• Skegness

• Clifton (Nottingham)

• Spalding

• Kirkby-in-Ashfield

• Clacton-on-Sea

• Great Yarmouth

• Eston

• Jarrow

• Washington

• Blyth (Northumberland)

Hartlepool
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Hartlepool

• Hartlepool

• Spennymoor

• Darwen

• Chadderton

• Heywood

• Ashton-under-Lyne

• Accrington

• Leigh (Wigan)

• Farnworth

• Nelson (Pendle)

Scarborough
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Scarborough

• Scarborough

• Kirkby

• Burnley

• Hastings

• Bexhill-on-Sea

• Ryde

• Smethwick

• Darlaston

• Bilston (Wolverhampton)

• Dudley

• Grimsby

Torquay
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Torquay

• Torquay

• Castleford

• Doncaster

• Rotherham

• Barnsley

• Scunthorpe

• Keighley

• Dewsbury

• Merthyr Tydfil

• Cwmbrân

• Wrexham

• Barry (Vale of Glamorgan)

Dumfries
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Dumfries

• Dumfries

• Greenock

• Irvine

• Kilmarnock

• Coatbridge

• Clydebank

• Elgin