Kerry and the Pacemakers group formed during pandemic restore Liverpool garden

A trio of neighbours who banded together to restore a walled garden discovered they all had pacemaker implants.

Stephen, Dorothy, Kerry’s wife Linda and Kerry. Photo: LHCH

A group of neighbours in South Liverpool who discovered they all have heart issues have joined forces to restore a communal garden.

The trio, who have named themselves Kerry and the Pacemakers after they discovered they all had one of the implants to help regulate heart rates, came together during the pandemic to renovate a walled garden.

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Neighbours Kerry Harrald, 59, Dorothy Burgess, 73 and Stephen Felton, 65, decided to use their green fingers to revamp the garden at the rear of their properties at Springwood Court, Allerton.

Stephen, Dorothy, Kerry’s wife Linda and Kerry. Photo: LHCH

Heart problems

Kerry, a retired Liverpool bus driver, experienced a serious heart attack in January 2017.

He said: “I was told that technically I ‘died’ for several minutes. My heart had stopped but thanks to the amazing skill of the paramedics, they managed to bring me back.

“I was immediately transferred to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH).

“I underwent stent and defibrillator placement and then after a period in intensive care I was moved to a ward before being discharged home.

“Although I ended up retiring from my job, I will always be eternally grateful to the staff who looked after me.”

Kerry said since his heart attack he’s had to make ‘considerable adjustments’ to his lifestyle, putting plans to buy a motorbike and go wild camping on hold in favour of a quieter life.

He said: “My wife Linda’s calm and prompt attention when I had my heart attack and her care of me ever since has been second to none.

“I love crafts, am an expert at making colourful paracord items, including bracelets and key rings, and really enjoy helping with the walled garden project.”

Mum-of-two, Dorothy, is also a patient at LHCH as well as being a public governor at the hospital.

She said: “I’d undergone extensive cancer treatment for many years and unfortunately this affected my heart. As a result, my pacemaker was fitted in September 2019.

Dorothy, who is also a retired non-executive director for a mental health trust and with a background of psychological counselling, added: “I undertook some further training following my cancer treatment and have been able to support patients dealing with the impact of cancer.

“I’ve also been able to offer support to the lung cancer team at LHCH, addressing patient meetings and volunteering to assist the exemplary ward staff. Plus, I make sure I’ve always got time to help in the garden.”

Stephen, a retired civil servant, moved into the neighbourhood a few months ago with his wife Lynne after previously living in India and Malta.

He said: “I had my heart pacemaker fitted in Malta in September 2020, but I don’t let it stop me from being physically active.

“I know how important it is to keep my heart healthy, and although I don’t do marathons anymore, I still run regularly. I also enjoy cycling 15-20 miles every day and working with my pals in the garden.”

The neighbours said working together has made the pandemic much more bearable through ‘having a clear sense of purpose, unity and friendship’.