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Back after serious heart scare, Belfast City Airport fireman Martin Campbell now keen to help his lifesavers

By Chris McCullough

Published 05/06/2015

Firefighter Martin Campbell and his daughter Rebecca
Firefighter Martin Campbell and his daughter Rebecca
Malachy Jamison and Dominic McAlister from Cushendall Fire Station present a cheque to Martin and Rebecca

A George Best Belfast City Airport firefighter has returned to duty after undergoing heart surgery.

And now Martin Campbell (46) wants to give something back to the doctors, nurses and the Fire Fighters Charity that helped him back to full fitness.

Martin has been a full-time firefighter at the airport for the past 17 years and thoroughly enjoys the job. He is also a retained firefighter in his home village of Carnlough, Co Antrim.

However, on May Day last year after returning home from work he experienced serious headaches, flu-like symptoms and a loss of vision.

Martin explained: "I went to bed thinking the symptoms would disappear but during the night I awoke to my pager alerting me of a callout.

"However, my condition had got worse and I had to get the wife and daughter to help put me in the car and take me straight to A&E."

Martin was taken to Antrim Hospital and then transferred to the RVH in Belfast for further examinations and surgery.

He added: "At first the docs thought it was meningitis but after a couple of weeks of scans and tests doctors diagnosed me with endocarditis."

At this stage Martin's life was in danger and the doctors had to perform cardiac surgery.

A team of surgeons from the Royal carried out the operation and had him back on a recovery ward within four days.

Martin was badly taken aback by the ordeal and underwent a variety of treatments to help him on the road to recovery.

This included a visit to Penrith with the Fire Fighters Charity to undergo gym hydrotherapy and three weeks of cardiovascular treatment.

Martin was able to return to work last November after being given the all-clear.

In order to thank the medical staff at both hospitals and the charity, he decided to raise some money for them.

Along with help from his daughter Rebecca and colleagues at Cushendall Fire Station, Martin has raised over £3,000 for the three.

The target he has set himself is £6,000 - which he hopes to get even closer to after he and 27 friends ran a relay race for the charities in last month's Belfast Marathon.

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