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Fisherman from Deal dies two years after surviving septic shock

A much loved fisherman has died just a few weeks before his 40th birthday.

Tributes have now poured in for Jack Burnham, 39, of Deal, who suffered multi-organ failure.

Jack Burnham in February 2020. Picture: Andy Jones.
Jack Burnham in February 2020. Picture: Andy Jones.

He died at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate last Wednesday.

Yet he had escaped death from septic shock two year ago.

Jack was particularly known in the town for his interest in American classic cars, along with his surviving twin brother Ben.

The circumstances of his death were explained in detail by this mother, former Deal mayor Marlene Burnham, on her Facebook page.

She revealed that this is now the fourth out of six children she has lost.

Former mayor Marlene Burnham
Former mayor Marlene Burnham

She wrote on Facebook: " Kids are not supposed to pre-decease their parents, this has happened to me now four times - all are my sons. Out of six children I have two left. It is very hard to comprehend and, at the moment, accept."

Mrs Burnham, on her post explained that Jack was found to be ill at home on Friday, March 26.

He was in bed for 36 hours and the next day Jack's father Tom called for medical help and an ambulance took him straight to the hospital.

He was found to have liver, heart and kidney failure but also sepsis.

Mrs Burnham wrote:" He ended up in a very critical state, and then we had to the most dreadful thing any parent would wish not to have to do, agree to turn off his life-support system, as he was not going to recover this time."

Twins Ben and Jack Burnham in 2001
Twins Ben and Jack Burnham in 2001

Jack, who would have turned 40 on April 26, was also a maintenance man at Dunkerley's Seafood Restaurant Hotel in Deal.

Jack had almost died two years ago when he contracted septic shock and ended up developing pneumonia.

He was in hospital for two months, from August to October 2019, and in February 2020 gave a detailed interview with KentOnline about his ordeal.

This was to raise awareness of septic shock.

He said at the time: "Imagine you've been running a marathon and you're the most unfit person in the world but you have to do it.

Jack Burnham with his parents Tom and Marlene, twin Ben, sister Rachel plus brother Gregory who die in 2019
Jack Burnham with his parents Tom and Marlene, twin Ben, sister Rachel plus brother Gregory who die in 2019

"I could hardly speak. In a period of 20 minutes I'd gone from being able to drive and walk, considering a game of darts, to being incapable of anything."

Among the other losses in the family has been one of Jack's brothers, Gregory, who died of an aneurysm in early 2019.

Those offering condolences to the family on Facebook included former Mercury editor Graham Smith who said:"Marlene, I am so very sorry to hear about this devastating news. My thoughts are with you."

Leone Lynch said:" My heart is breaking for you all. It’s hard to comprehend how much one family or a mother can take? Dearest Marlene and Tom please accept our deepest condolences. So so sorry."

Thea Utting wrote: "Dear Marlene and Tom, we are so very sorry for your loss. It must be so devastating to suffer yet another death in your close family. As you say it should not happen that way round."

Details for the funeral are yet to be confirmed.

Jack is also survived by a sister, Rachel Schofield.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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