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Peter Hamlyn pays tribute to son Dominic who died after 'cardiac arrest' in pool at family home near Canterbury


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The father of a young man who died after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest in a swimming pool has paid tribute to his "hero" son.

Cambridge University graduate Dominic Hamlyn, 24, suffered a medical episode in the early hours of yesterday morning at his family home in Crundale - a leafy village situated between Canterbury and Ashford.

Police and ambulance services rushed to the scene just after 3.30am and Dominic was taken to hospital, where consultants were sadly unable to save him.

Dominic Hamlyn. Pic: LinkedIn
Dominic Hamlyn. Pic: LinkedIn

His father Peter Hamlyn told the Mirror Dominic had been at his youngest brother's 21st birthday party, where he had given a 15-minute speech to guests, before going for a swim in the pool with friends.

"He completed two lengths and then sank to the bottom," said Mr Hamlyn - a world-famous neurosurgeon, who helped save the life of boxer Michael Watson in 1991, after a blood clot formed on the world title challenger's brain following a bout with Chris Eubank.

'We are broken. If he is to be remembered, it is as a hero and one of the world's helpers' - Peter Hamlyn

"He was immediately pulled from the water and a medical student started performing CPR until I came a minute later to take over."

The former King's School pupil was rushed to the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, where consultants worked on him through the night.

Dominic Hamlyn. Pic: Facebook (14494146)
Dominic Hamlyn. Pic: Facebook (14494146)

"A specialist team came from St Thomas to put him on a bypass," said his father.

"He died last night despite all their efforts. There will be an inquest but he clearly had a heart attack - a brain scan ruled out a haemorrhage. Their brilliance at resuscitation is our only comfort.

"Why did he die? He was a superb athlete competing in both rugby and rowing at Cambridge."

Mr Hamlyn said no drugs were involved, and that he believes the cause of his son's death to be a cardiac syndrome know as Sudden Athlete Death (SAD).

"What the footballer had and survived," he said. "Not our beautiful, beautiful boy.

'He shone in classroom, on sports pitch and in every social context by the brightness of his mind' - Peter Roberts, former headmaster

"We are broken. If he is to be remembered it is as a hero and one of the world's helpers."

Peter Roberts, headmaster of The King's School, Canterbury, also paid tribute to Dominic.

Neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn and Boxer Michael Watson visit Junior King's School in 2003, to talk to pupils about head injuries
Neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn and Boxer Michael Watson visit Junior King's School in 2003, to talk to pupils about head injuries

He said: "Everyone at King’s shares the shock and deep sense of grief at the tragic loss of such a talented and charming young man as Dominic.

"He shone in classroom, on sports pitch and in every social context by the brightness of his mind and his charismatic personality.

"Our hearts and support go out to his parents, brothers and family."

After school, Dominic went on to study at UCL in London, from which he graduated with a first class degree in science and engineering in 2017.

The accomplished scholar then studied for a Master of Philosophy at Cambridge University's prestigious Judge Business School.

Dominic Hamlyn, right. Pic: JustGiving
Dominic Hamlyn, right. Pic: JustGiving

Outside of his studies, Dominic helped found an online retail business, could speak Spanish and was a passionate rugby player - representing UCL's 1st XV for three years, and being elected as the university's Sports Officer in his final year.

In 2014, he ran the London Marathon in aid of The Brain & Spine Foundation - for which he managed to raise almost £5,700.

On his fundraising page, he said he was inspired by the number of people in Crundale who have been affected by neurological and spinal conditions, as well as the death of his baby cousin, Maria.

"When I was a young boy I helped my father fundraising," he wrote on the page.

'I loved him and knew him since he was a little boy' - Michael Watson

"He and his patient, the injured boxer Michael Watson, along with his carer Lenny, walked the London marathon for the Brain & Spine Foundation.

"It took them six days and I swore when I was old enough I would run it; in the words of Michael, 'for the benefit of others less fortunate than me'."

Today, Michael Watson told MailOnline he was "heartbroken" by the news of Dominic's death.

"I loved him and knew him since he was a little boy," he said. "I’m praying for Peter and his family. I was so touched that he was inspired to run the London Marathon because of me and help improve the lives of others’.

Police have confirmed the young man's death is not being treated as suspicious, and that the case is now being dealt with by the coroner.

An inquest is expected to take place in due course, though a date has not yet been set.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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