Man from Milton Keynes dies whilst calling NHS 111 for advice

    He died where he was working in Portsmouth, in June 2020.

    Desmond Spiers, aged 34, was working as a Big Issue seller in Portsmouth at the time of his death.

    Originally from Milton Keynes, Desmond was described as a 'popular and well-respected magazine seller'.

    Desmond had called the non-emergency medical line on July 30th 2020, for advice after biting his tongue.

    But during his phone call with the call handler, Desmond suddenly stopped responding to questions and making strange noises.

    Concerned about the mans health, the call handler dispatched an ambulance to his home.

    Paramedics found Desmond Spiers unresponsive and carried out CPR, sadly he could not be revived. Police officers also attended the scene but arrived after he had passed away. Reports say police found a note, a mobile phone and "several" butane gas canisters in his room.

    The contents of the note were not read in the inquest.

    Steve Carter, The Big Issue’s sales and operations team leader for Devon and Cornwall, paid a touching tribute to the long-time seller: “Des was respected and often would help tourists by pointing them in the right direction, recommending places to visit and eat,” said Steve.

    “Des had a massive respect for our military and especially the veterans and always wore a poppy with pride.

    “He struggled a lot during lockdown. He missed his local customers and was so relieved to return to his pitch.

    “Des had his demons but enjoyed selling The Big Issue and loved the interaction with the locals on the Barbican. He will be sadly missed by me and all of us at The Big Issue.”

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