A HEREFORD family are preparing to pay tribute to a much-loved father of six who died at the age of 61.

The Parker family will gather in Ross-on-Wye on Easter weekend to celebrate the life of Karl Parker with a special event.

Mr Parker's six children, Lisa, Aaron, Kelvin, Wesley, Kelly and Brett, and his partner Deborah, want to raise awareness of sepsis, the illness that tragically took his life.

Hereford Times: An old family photo of the ParkersAn old family photo of the Parkers (Image: Sepsis Research Feat)

Mr Parker was a football fan, and on Saturday, March 30, a charity match will be held in his honour.

The match will kick off at 2pm at Ross-on-Wye Rugby Club, with Mr Parker's friends and family facing off against each other in his memory and donating funds raised to the charity Sepsis Research Feat.

Entry to the match will be a cash donation on the door.

Mr Parker, who was from Hereford but later lived in Ross-on-Wye, died at Hereford County Hospital in September 2023 after a battle with sepsis, which is a serious and life-threatening reaction to infection.

His daughter Lisa Parker said: "My dad, Karl Parker, was a 61-year-old man from Hereford, but lived in Ross-on-Wye for many years. Most of his family still live in Hereford.

"My dad was the kindest man you could meet and he inspired me so much with his strength and love. He was just simply the best and he is sadly missed by us all.

"My dad was a massive Elvis fan and went to an Elvis festival every year in Wales. He was a Leeds United supporter and also used to play football years ago."

Hereford Times: Karl Parker with two Elvis impersonatorsKarl Parker with two Elvis impersonators (Image: Sepsis Research Feat)

Miss Parker said that until her father contracted a leg infection called cellulitis in 2023, he was otherwise healthy.

He spent two days being treated in hospital with antibiotics before being discharged to recover at home.

Three weeks later, his partner found him sleepy and unresponsive in their Ross-on-Wye home and immediately called an ambulance. He was rushed to the accident and emergency unit with a very high temperature and an elevated heart rate of 160 beats per minute.

A blood test revealed that, although Mr Parker's original leg infection had cleared, there was E coli in his bloodstream, the source of which was a mystery.

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After spending 24 hours in resus, he was struggling to breathe and doctors made the decision to move him to the intensive care unit and put him on a ventilator in an induced coma.

"I vividly remember the one time he opened his eyes when I visited, but that was the last glimmer of consciousness," Miss Parker said.

Hereford Times: Karl Parker with his daughter LisaKarl Parker with his daughter Lisa (Image: Sepsis Research Feat)

"When we found out, we were shocked and worried but we honestly thought that he'd get better, not realising how sick he really was and how fast sepsis had taken over my dad's body."

Sadly Mr Parker never regained consciousness, and, after a two-week battle in intensive care, he suffered organ failure and died.


Miss Parker said: "We were absolutely heartbroken when we were told there was no more they could do for him. We had to try and remain strong for our dad. We were there till the end.

"My dad and I were particularly close and my grief was overwhelming.

"I wish I had known about the symptoms of sepsis and been able to spot them and save his life. I want to help families who have been through the same thing, and my only comfort now is in trying to turn our tragedy into preventing others from experiencing the pain we've endured."

The key sepsis symptoms to look out for are a high or low temperature, shivering, confusion, passing little urine and blotchy or cold arms and legs.

Someone suffering with sepsis might not show all of these symptoms at once. On their own, some of these symptoms can be an indication of other health problems, but a combination of two or more, becoming progressively worse, means medical attention is urgently needed. Sufferers of suspected sepsis should call 999 or go straight to their nearest accident and emergency unit.