Ex-Formula One driver rallies to help sick grandfather

David Crowter SUS-151009-113558001
David Crowter SUS-151009-113558001

An ex-soldier, who launched a desperate bid earlier in the week to find a Formula One driver to visit his gravely ill grandfather in hospital, has had his call for help answered.

Ricky Hodges promised to take his grandfather Dave Crowter to F1 after Ricky left the Coldstream Guards three-and-a-half years ago.

The 28-year-old set up Sentry Scaffolding in Hastings 18 months ago and is finally in a position to be able to afford the trip for the avid F1 fan.

But at the weekend tragedy struck when Mr Crowter collapsed in agony on the bowls green in Bexhill.

Mr Crowter, who is from Bexhill, had suffered a triple aneurysm in his stomach, causing him to lose ten litres of blood.

Emergency surgery stopped the bleeding, but Mr Crowter was put in a medically-induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit in the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Following his grandfather’s collapse, Ricky made dozens of frantic phonecalls to F1 teams and Silverstone in a bid to find a Formula One driver to visit the 75-year-old in ICU.

But the Hastings Observer, working with our sister title the Chichester Observer - which is covering the Goodwood Revival this weekend - was able to put Ricky in touch with F1 marketing supremo Brian Sims.

After making a number of phone calls, Brian managed to persuade ex-F1 driver David Brabham to visit Mr Crowter.

Ricky, who lives in Etchingham Drive in Hastings, said: “My mum and nan went up to see him and they bought him round for the day and they mentioned to him we had got in touch with David Brabham and even though he was sedated, he knew straight away who he was.

“He was really excited about it.”

However, the visit has been put on hold until after Mr Crowter has undergone major surgery.

Meanwhile ex-F1 driver Mark Webber, who launched his new book this week, has sent a copy to Mr Crowter, signed by himself and other F1 greats, including Damon Hill.

* Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsobserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.