Father tells of 'horrendous' year after partner suffers brain haemorrhage
PUBLISHED: 06:29 05 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 05 January 2020
For most people, having 13 children is enough to have on your mind.
But for Gareth Hunt, from Bradwell, it is just one of many responsibilities that sees him juggle life as a prison officer, volunteering as a community first responder and working with homeless charities.
Last year, the 58-year-old also coped with a "horrendous" time when his partner Ellie Godbold was in a critical condition in hospital for five weeks after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
"The whole year was awful and really dreadful." Mr Hunt said. "It was a particularly difficult and traumatic time. But the worst part was telling the children."
Ms Godbold, 55, had collapsed at home in April and was taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth before being transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for an immediate operation.
Doctors told Mr Hunt to prepare for the worst.
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Mr Hunt said: "I kept telling them that she was a fighter and would pull through. But they told me that it wasn't likely and advised me to not have false hope. I knew they were wrong because I know Ellie."
While Ms Godbold was fighting for her life, Mr Hunt made daily hospital visits to Cambridge from Great Yarmouth and managed the household.
He said: "All the children and everyone pulled together and pitched in and did everything that needed to be done. It was the only time they have all listened to me. No questioning."
Ms Godbold returned home in May to recover.
Mr Hunt said: "Ellie is doing really well now and were focusing on doing normal things and carrying on life as usual."
Over Christmas, Mr Hunt continued to help those in need and put together survival packs for homeless people across Great Yarmouth, which included items such as tinned food, soap and chocolate.
In 2019 Mr Hunt won the unsung hero award at the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards.
He said: "People always ask me how I do it all and I don't know really. I don't have much time to do anything but I find my work as a community first responder and helping the homeless really rewarding. I encourage everyone to do it."