Essex

Man given piece of Essex flyover where his heart stopped

David Leavy Image copyright Essex County Council
Image caption David Leavy's heart stopped when he was driving on the Army and Navy flyover and his car came to rest on the roundabout underneath

A grandfather has been given an unusual Christmas present - receiving part of a flyover he had been driving on when his heart stopped.

David Leavy, 67, suffered the health scare on the Army and Navy flyover in Chelmsford in 2010.

He was treated at Broomfield Hospital, fitted with a pacemaker and survived.

His daughter Dawn Tyler approached Essex County Council for a piece of the concrete structure, which is due to be demolished.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The single-lane flyover crosses over the Army and Navy roundabout on the edge of Chelmsford city centre
Image copyright Essex County Council
Image caption The core was removed during repair work last year

The flyover, which was built in the 1970s and takes traffic over a roundabout, was shut down in September and a taskforce was assembled to decide its future after reports showed it was structurally unsafe.

Mrs Tyler said the flyover had significance for the family and her father, who lives in Suffolk, had "loved" the unusual gift.

"Dad's life changed dramatically after that and it was a lucky escape in many ways," she said.

"He retired within a year or so and it just made him really think about the things that are most important in life.

"When we saw the flyover had closed and was due to be taken down, we thought it would be a great idea to try and get him a small piece of it."

Mr Leavy said: "When she explained the lengths she had gone to and how co-operative Essex County Council have been in providing me with a piece of the flyover, I was quite emotional."

Work to dismantle and remove the flyover is expected to start early in 2020.

Image caption An engineering assessment found the flyover to be unsafe and it is due to be demolished in 2020

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council, said: "The flyover has been a well-known feature of the Chelmsford skyline for 40 years and its removal will be a historic milestone for the city.

"I was very interested to hear about the special significance of the flyover to Mr Leavy and pleased we were be able to give him his own small piece of Chelmsford's history."

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