Brought back from the dead on the Peterborough City Hospital operating table, Tom Dexter promised if he ever made it out of there he would give something back to help fellow patients.
Now, more than 11 months after he was rushed to the ICU covered in blood, the TV scriptwriter from Woodston is ready to make good his vow after bringing together hospital staff for a major fundraising concert at the city’s Key Theatre on Saturday evening.
Nurses, doctors, anaesthetists and even one of the hospital’s senior staff will be performing Christmas carols and popular hits for two hours from 8pm, with the show directed by Michael Lyons.
Tom said: “They work all through the night but they have been turning up for rehearsals. It’s incredibly brave as they are so far outside of their comfort zones.”
Tom (49) was at home with partner Helen on New Year’s Eve morning when he realised he was in trouble.
He said: “I woke up and most of my oesophagus had split open. I had lost about six-and-a-half units of blood. The next thing I know it’s the middle of the first week of January.
“I have no recollection. I was in the ICU at Peterborough City Hospital - it was just a very surreal experience.
“I’m told I died several times. Helen was told that in a couple of hours I would probably have died. The ambulance staff said they did not think I would make it to hospital.
“I’m very lucky to still be here. The staff saved me.”
Tom spent his birthday in hospital before being released in February, when he began organising the concert.
He was particularly thankful to nurses Tom Payne and Karen Peat for their help while he was in hospital, adding: “I can’t praise those guys highly enough.
“When I became more mobile I would walk down the corridor in the middle of the night, and in the other bays I would see some kids because the poor little devils would be up.
“There was one that would always wave, and one day he was not there. I said ‘what happened to him?’ He had died.
“Tom and Karen said the problem was they did not have the funds to make it really comfortable for the youngsters, like a TV or a specialist chair to sit up in.
“I was just determined to do something about it if I got out of there. Tom and Karen said they always wanted to put a choir together and raise some money, but they never had the wherewithal to do it.
“I took them rehearsing and the numbers grew. Now there’s about 35 of them.”
Tom said the Key Theatre, in Embankment Road, “bent over backwards” to help the choir.
To buy tickets, call the theatre on 01733 207239 or visit: https://vivacity.org/whatson/theatre-and-arts/festive-frolics/.