Call for men to get checked after headteacher suffers heart attack

​After going from feeling a little short of breath to needing a quadruple heart bypass within days, Banovallum's headteacher is now urging anyone, especially men, to get checked out if they feel even slightly ill.
Banovallum School headteacher Grant Edgar.Banovallum School headteacher Grant Edgar.
Banovallum School headteacher Grant Edgar.

​The day began innocently enough for Grant Edgar on March 9, 2023, when he was out walking his dog in the morning, and then he began to feel very breathless, to the extent that he had to stop and catch his breath.

But he felt well enough to go to work once the feeling passed, and he casually mentioned the feeling to deputy head Jenny Kirkwood and his PA Julia Fowler:

"They both told me straight away to get checked out and told me off a fair bit," he said, "If they hadn't told me to go to the doctors I wound't have bothered, and God knows what would have happened."

Grant phoned NHS 111 who asked him a list of questions relating to his heart, and he said he answered 'no' to all of them, and assumed they'd close his case, but he was told to go to Boston Pilgrim Hospital where he was seen within 20 minutes.

Less than an hour later he was given a blood test, which confirmed that he had suffered a mini heart attack.

He was then moved to Lincoln County Hospital, where he was told he had high blood pressure and cholesterol, and asked if he was under particular stress.

"I told them I'm a headteacher and they said that would be the problem, but I said I've never been happier at work so it was a surprise," he said.

An angiogram then confirmed that Grant had three blocked arteries in his heart, and the fourth was also struggling, and he would need a quadruple heart bypass.

The surgery took more than six hours at Leicester Royal Infirmary, with Grant spending five weeks in hospital altogether.

"The thing is that from the moment I felt breathless up to having the surgery I didn't feel ill at all," Grant said, "I remember when we had the really cold spell the weeks before when I was out walking the dog, I felt it in my chest then which could have been a symptom of what was to come.”

As Grant doesn't smoke, or drink heavily, his heart attack was put down to bad luck, and he said that since then, he's been careful with his lifestyle.

"I'd say I was careless before," he said, "I'd snack a lot during the day and between meals, but I eat well and don't really drink much. I just put it down to getting older as I'm 55,and not as active as I used to be.

Grant said that his treatment by the NHS has been outstanding from start to finish, and is now urging men to not put off going to the doctors.

“Get any pains in your chest or breathlessness that's out of the ordinary to get it checked out right away. Don't wait to get checked."

"If you have any family history of high blood pressure then keep getting that checked as well," he added.

"Men are notoriously bad for not going to the doctors when they are ill, so if this means that there's even one conversation around the dinner table that jogs someone to get something checked then that's the important thing.”

NHS guidance on feeling short of breath can be found at