Ian and Sherry’s story

“I just kept thinking that if the Air Ambulance is there then it must be serious – but also that he’s going to be okay.”

Sherry Curtis has been married to her best friend Ian for 37 years – old man and old girl, as they’re affectionately known. As Ian headed out to make his usual Saturday morning tee time, it was the day Sherry’s life would change forever.

A woman whose idea of exercise usually involves getting off the sofa and pouring a glass of wine before returning to the sofa, Sherry, 61 from Waterlooville, is throwing herself into a charity Triathlon in Belgium.

On Saturday 22 June, she’ll be tackling a 1,000-metre open water swim, 45km bike ride, and a 10km run to raise money for your Air Ambulance.

This is why

On Saturday 28 January 2023, Ian woke Sherry with a plea to stop snoring. The pair said goodbye before Ian set off and Sherry rolled over and drifted back off to sleep.

That was the last time they would ever see each other.

“It was a perfectly normal Saturday morning,” said Sherry. But as she made her way around the shops, and Ian successfully sank a long putt on the 12th green, he collapsed.

He had a ruptured myocardial infarction – a complication from a heart attack. A life-threatening emergency.

Ian’s friends began CPR and dialled 999. A road ambulance crew and a doctor, pilot and specialist paramedic from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance flew to the scene. They landed in the middle of the golf course and approached Ian.

The call

Sherry came out of the shops to a multitude of missed calls.

“My son-in-law eventually got through and told me that the old man has collapsed and the Air Ambulance is here,” said Sherry.

“I just kept thinking that if the Air Ambulance is there then it must be serious – but also that he’s going to be okay.”

Sherry raced to the golf course and was greeted with panicked expressions and hugs from her children.

“The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance doctor came over and said, ‘I’m really sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.’ Everyone said they had been trying for ages, but they’d done all they could.

“And that was the day my life changed forever.”

Ian sadly died at the age of just 65 leaving behind his wife, daughter, son and grandson.

“He was so full of life,” said Sherry.

“A great husband, my best friend, a brilliant dad and a fantastic grandad. Him and our grandson were best buddies.

“At the beginning he would ask where Grandad was and whether he was cross because he’s not here playing with him.

“’He’s fishing on the moon’, we would tell him. ‘And when all the stars come out at night, they’re all the golf balls that Grandad has lost throughout the day.’”

Sherry admits to spending the next nine months feeling ‘lost – really lost.’

“2023 was the most horrendous year of my life,” she said. “The path I had with Ian no longer exists. So, I had to find a new path.”

Sherry’s workplace Ageas has been a huge supporter of the Air Ambulance community for a number of years. When they advertised a spot for the upcoming Triathlon, Sherry, without missing a beat, threw her name into the hat.

“I needed something that was all consuming,” she said. “But never in a million years would I have believed I’d be doing it.

“Ian would be so proud.

“I want to say thank you. It is such a small word, but I am so grateful that I can support the people who tried their best to help my husband. Hopefully, I can help them be there for someone else who is in need.”

You can support Sherry today – and help us be there for our next patient.