Devoted husband marks anniversary of wife’s life-saving operation

Ten challenges to celebrate 10th anniversary.

The anniversary of an operation that saved a Honiton woman’s life 10 years ago is being marked by her devoted husband.

Irishman Austin Stack, 44, has set himself the challenge of completing 10 feats and is, this week, running 10 half marathons in less than 10 days. He will undertake other challenges throughout the year.

His wife, Sara, also 44, was just 35 when she underwent double heart by-pass surgery at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth..

“It was very worrying for us at the time,” said Mr Stack.

“Our daughters, Hazel and Charlotte, were aged just five and three.

“The operation went well and my wife made a full recovery.

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“Our daughters are now teenagers.”

During his feats, Mr Stack aims to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and is calling on anyone who knows his family to offer their support.

Honitonian Sara, who prepares refreshments at Honiton Senior Citizens’ Centre on Mondays and Tuesdays, said: “I feel really good. It is amazing what surgeons can do, because I really did feel ill before the operation.

“When I was on the road to recovery, I used to deliver The Midweek Herald in the Silver Street area – to get me walking again.”

Reflecting on her husband’s challenges, she added: “I am really proud of him for raising money, but doing all this stuff? I think he is completely mad!”

Mr Stack, who works with adults with learning disabilities in Ottery St Mary, started his challenge with a Boxing Day swim.

Next month he will be taking part in the Grizzly, followed by Taunton Marathon in April.

He also plans to participate in the World Nettle Eating Championships and take part in the Royal Marines’ Commando Challenge.

This week, however, he has got his running shoes on.

“It’s only to Ottery St Mary and back 10 times,” he said. “But I won’t be rushing it. I’m built for comfort, not speed!”