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Pride In Medway 2009 - Pam Howell

A grandmother who overcame a heart attack has been described as an inspiration.

Pam Howell, of Danes Hill, Gillingham, has been nominated for a Pride in Medway award by her daughter Sue Howell.

Pam, 72, has always been fit and active. Since retiring from her job as deputy head of Rochester Adult Education Centre, she has been around the world three times and sailed to the Canary Islands and back.

Pam enjoys skiing and runs lessons for adults and children at Chatham Ski Centre.

But last August, without any warning, Pam suffered a heart attack.

The day before she had been to her local pool and swum 60 lengths. She awoke at 4am the following morning and told her husband to get her to hospital because she knew she was having a heart attack.

She had trouble breathing and walking and said she felt like something was clamped on the top of her arms. After the attack, Pam's biggest fear was that she wouldn't be able to lead an active life again and wouldn't be able to ski.

But over the past 14 months, Pam has returned to her position as a part-time ski instructor and has been supporting the Echo fund-raising appeal for the British Heart Foundation.

Daughter Sue, 47, of Danes Hill, Gillingham, said: "There is no stopping her. She doesn't look or act like she is in her 70s.

"It was very scary for her when she was ill, but she has managed to turn that experience into something positive.

"She is an inspiration to everybody. Her experiences show that people who suffer heart attacks can have a quality of life again.

"Through working with the British Heart Foundation, mum is helping to raise awareness of personal health which, hopefully, could save someone from a heart attack.

"I want to nominate her for a Pride in Medway award, not only to let her know how proud we are of her, but also to raise awareness of how heart disease can be overcome with courage."

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