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Popular young East Lancs barman dies after falling down stairs
A POPULAR barman has died after falling down the stairs at his home.
Ben Hennessy never regained consciousness and died four hours later despite desperate efforts to give him CPR.
The 24-year-old had been at home in Clitheroe with his mum and dad, Martin and Ann, and girlfriend of five years, Mary-Elizabeth Allott, when the accident happened.
Mr Hennessy had been battling a rare benign brain tumour, since 2012, which had left him unable to use his right arm and unsteady on his feet.
He also had heart problems as a result of his treatment for which he had a stent fitted.
Describing the moment she heard her boyfriend fall, Miss Allott said: “He got quite far up the stairs. I was in bed and he just screamed. I instantly knew he was going to fall. I knew he had lost his balance. I thought, ‘maybe he can grab on to something’.
“I heard his parents, who were downstairs, run. I rushed to his side. We did CPR and kept talking to him.”
His distraught dad, Martin, said: “He had hit his head on the concrete and we could see all the blood.”
First responders arrived within minutes of the incident, which happened at 9.30pm on Monday. Mr Hennessy was taken to Royal Preston Hospital where he underwent a CT scan.
His dad said: “He nearly regained consciousness but there was nothing they could do. There was too much blood on his brain so we switched the life support machine off at 1.30am.”
Mr Hennessy was diagnosed with a grade two ependymoma, a slow-growing brain tumour, when he found a lump in his neck in 2012.
It is still unclear whether he died from the impact of hitting his head on the concrete floor or from a cardiac arrest.
The former Ribblesdale High School and St James’s CE Primary School pupil was well known in the Ribble Valley for working behind the bar at the old Olive Press restaurant in Clitheroe, and Mitton Hall Hotel, in Mitton.
Mr Hennessy, an only child, had lost the use of his right arm and was often drowsy and unsteady on his feet as a side-effect of his steroid treatment, his dad said.
His mum, Ann, 57, said: “He was due an operation any day to take out a stent and put a bigger one in. Everything was on hold for Mary to finish university and Ben to have this operation. He was the light of my life. He has left a huge hole.”
The former Blackburn College student died just hours after Miss Allott, 24, got her degree results.
She said: “He was really proud. I’m so glad he got to know what I got because he helped me so much.”
Mr Hennessy, of Bawdlands, had been planning to move to Manchester with Miss Allott to help her set up a fashion business.
Miss Allott, who is from Burnley and works at Express Gifts’ photography studio in Altham, said the couple had planned to spend the rest of their lives together.
She said: “He would walk past wedding shops and say, ‘that dress would look nice on you’. We were saving up a deposit for a house in Manchester and making plans for my business. We had so many dreams. He was gorgeous. We would have been together forever.
“He was so passionate about cocktails. Apparently it came from when he used to pour glasses of wine for his parents. He also loved his Xbox, Manga comics and models. All of his dreams, like running a bar, were all on hold because of his arm.”
Miss Allott, who got a 2:1 in fashion entrepreneurship at the University of Central Lancashire, said she wanted to start a bridal dress business for disabled people, inspired by her experiences helping Ben get dressed.
Mr Hennessy’s father Martin, who also works at Express Gifts, added: “He was so grown up but so much fun. One of his friends said he was the glue that held us all together, and she was right.”
His friend, Jane Townsend, has already got the word ‘glue’ tattooed on her ankle in his memory.
Mr Hennessy, known to many friends as The Captain because of his organisational skills, had studied media technology at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Coroner, Michael Singleton, said he had been informed of Mr Hennessy’s death and had ordered a post-mortem examination to be carried out.
Mr Hennessy’s funeral will take place at Burnley Crematorium from 2.10pm on Friday, July 11. Donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust can be made through www.champfunerals.com.