Rare condition kills 'amazing' lorry driver

Rhona Seal

Rhona Seal, 61, from Dersingham, who hopes to raise awareness of amyloidosis, a rare illness which her husband Andrew died from - Credit: Chris Bishop

The family of a lorry driver who died from a rare disorder hope to raise awareness of the condition which killed him.

Andrew Seal, from Dersingham, passed away aged 64 in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn on June 9.

When he was first admitted six weeks earlier, doctors thought he was suffering from cancer.

Twelve days before he died, Mr Seal was was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a build up of abnormal proteins which damage internal organs including the liver and kidneys and prevent them from functioning properly. 

Andrew Seal

Andrew Seal, from Dersingham, who died from the rare condition amyloidosis - Credit: The Seal family

It had left him too weak to be moved to the the National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free Hospital in London, the the only specialist centre for amyloidosis in the UK, where there are believed to be 4,000 sufferers.

While the condition is usually fatal, this is because it is so rare it is often not diagnosed before irreparable damage has been done. If detected early enough, some forms can be treated.

Mr Seal's son Martin, 38, said his father began feeling weak and tired in early March.

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"Dad was always active," he said. "He'd be up at 4am to take the dogs out for a walk, then off to work at five. He hated sitting around.

"Maybe if they'd diagnosed it sooner, they might have got him to the Royal Free Hospital but you just don't know. There should be more research."

Rhona, Mr Seal's wife of 46 years, said: "It was devastating how quickly it happened. It was 12 days from when he was diagnosed until he passed.

"He was one of the nicest people you could meet, he was a gentle giant. He was an amazing husband, dad and grandad."

Before he became a lorry driver 24 years ago, Mr Seal ran Manor Bakery in Dersingham. He held a Royal Warrant for bread, which he delivered to Sandringham.

Mr Seal was a driver with March-based Gold Star Metal Traders Limited. Lorries from the firm, including Mr Seal's will form a  procession from his home to Mintlyn Crematorium, near King's Lynn, on Monday.

Mr Seal leaves a wife, Rhona, sons Martin and Adam and six grandchildren.

A Justgiving page has been launched in his memory, to raise money for amyloidosis research. Go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alison-fishet.