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'One minute he was laughing and joking with Ray and the next he collapsed. It could have happened any time'.

Byline: By Dave Black

A fit young cricketer who had fought chronic asthma throughout his life collapsed and died within minutes after suffering a severe attack at work.

David Griffiths, 20, had lived with the condition since he was a baby.

His parents even had to postpone his christening and take him to hospital because of breathing problems.

But he did not allow it stop him living life to the full ( including playing league cricket alongside his father John, 46, for the village team in Red Row, Northumberland.

His family believed regular medication and nursing supervision meant the asthma was under control and are devastated by his sudden death while working as a machine operator at the Cheviot Foods factory in Amble.

Mr Griffiths Snr, a coal delivery driver, and his wife Linda, 43, a senior carer at a Morpeth old people's home, said they hoped David's death would alert people that asthma is a potential killer and help avoid other young lives being cut short.

The grieving couple, who live in Fieldhouse Close, Acklington, with daughter Julie, 16, have raised almost pounds 1,000 since David's death.

This will be donated to the local South Broomhill Health Centre to buy equipment for other asthma sufferers.

Mrs Griffiths said: "People should never underestimate the potential consequences of having asthma, because it is a killer.

"You think sufferers are safe because they have their inhalers, but they are not.

"Along with David's asthma nurse, we believed he was in total control of his illness and that is why his death has been such a terrible shock. We want to make people aware of how dangerous it is. If we can save someone else from having to go through this, it will have been worthwhile."

David had his inhalers with him when he died 10 days ago, but something triggered a severe attack.

Mrs Griffiths said: "His lungs contracted totally and there was nothing anyone could do to save him. His supervisor, Ray Smith, tried to resuscitate him until the ambulance came, but he was already gone. One minute he was laughing and joking with Ray and the next he collapsed. It could have happened any time."

She said: "All sorts of things could trigger an attack for him, like extreme temperatures, hairs from horses and even paprika on crisps."

David, who was known as Griff by his friends, went to Amble's Coquet High School and worked at a local supermarket before joining Cheviot Foods. As well as playing for Red Row cricket club from the age of 15, he was a keen supporter and follower of the village's Brick Club Sunday football side.

In the weeks before his death, he had also been enjoying driving his first car.

Mrs Griffiths said: "David was quite a reserved person, but had a wicked sense of humour and lots of good friends.

"He was very loving and caring and would help anyone."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2006
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