When the Worshipful Master got taken seriously ill at West Ham United

Swift response by St John Ambulance paramedics means ‘Tomo’ can sing “I’m forever blowing bubbles” again

At the London Stadium when West Ham beat Sheffield United 2–0, on Saturday 30th September 2023, Paul Thomson, the Worshipful Master of Eastwoodbury Lodge No. 7922 which meets at Rochford Masonic Hall, presented a cheque to the St John Ambulance for £500.  ‘Tomo’, as Paul is known, has been a Hammers supporter for over 60 years and is a season ticket holder along with John Dakin, who was Master in 2012. The presentation was for the Master’s Charity which was Tomo’s choice for his year.

On 6th November 2022, probably because the Hammers lost 1-2, Tomo was taken ill at the West Ham vs Crystal Palace match just before half time. John contacted a steward and Tomo was attended by the St John Ambulance paramedics and taken to the nearest first aid post where he was examined by a doctor and given an ECG which was followed by an examination by the consultant on duty, who took him to Homerton Hospital by ambulance, where he stayed for the next three weeks and enjoyed every dish on the menu.

The Homerton being an East End hospital offers many cuisines which Tomo was very happy to try, particularly the curries.  He was eventually sent to Barts for specialist investigation and was advised that he needed a triple heart bypass, which he had done on Thursday 15th December and came home on the 21st December 2022 fully repaired. Eastwoodbury Lodge donated £250 to Barts Hospital and £250 to The British Heart Foundation.

Tomo also wanted to thank the St John Ambulance team that initially saved him, as exactly a year before he had collapsed in his garden at home and after being taken to Basildon Hospital was allowed home the next day as they could find nothing wrong.   His surgeon at Barts was Dr Perez from Valencia, one of the best women heart surgeons in the UK and noted amongst the top ten heart surgeons in the world. 

John Dakin said “If ever I am taken ill, I want it to happen at a West Ham home game.  The Homerton and Barts are both shining examples of well-run NHS hospitals, even Tomo’s A&E doctor was from Leigh on Sea and the facilities were like you see on an American hospital TV programme, absolutely fantastic.” Tomo and John sit next to each other at every home game, they have a number of friends who sit just in front of them and they all enjoy every game, win or lose, after which there is much discussion as to how the Hammers played, usually over a beer or two.


Top: The St John's Ambulance team together with Paul Thomson (right) presenting the cheque for £500 and being congratulated by Dr Sam Thenabadu, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at King’s College London, who volunteers his services at the London Stadium along with all the other medical staff, who saved Tomo’s life.