A BRADFORD man who had a heart attack earlier this month has thanked NHS staff for their hard work and professionalism, while also encouraging others to look out for any signs and symptoms.

Chris Walker, 64, had spent the evening of 3 July watching England beat Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-final. "Not long after the game", he said, he began to feel unwell.

Chris, who lives in Great Horton, started to experience chest pains, which slowly "got a little worse", and the following morning, he booked a taxi to hospital.

It was then, at Bradford Royal Infirmary, that Chris was told he had suffered a heart attack.

"I didn't feel that crushing pain that some people who have suffered heart attacks describe, and it was a very minor heart attack which I had, but it was still a very serious thing", he said.

"Apart from the chest pain, I didn't feel particularly bad. When they said I'd had a heart attack, I was surprised - I thought I would have felt at lot worse than that.

"But clearly, there was a problem, and I was fortunate that BRI staff picked it up so quickly."

After Chris was sent to Leeds General Infirmary for further treatment, doctors found three blockages in his arteries.

"As the staff treated me, they told me what they were doing all the time. They were very professional and I was very well-treated", he said.

"Come Monday morning, the pain had pretty much gone. I went home on Wednesday, and I've been feeling a lot better since.

"Maybe it's shown that my diet has not been as good as it might have been, and has gradually led to this. But everything I do from now on is going to be to prevent that from happening again.

"I'm going to change my diet and get to back to exercising, walking and doing the things I enjoy doing."

Chris added that if anyone else experiences anything similar, they should be on the safe side and get themselves to a hospital.

"I would say don't wait around for it to get worse - get yourself checked out. Even if it's not that, it's better to find out. It could have been so much worse for me", he said.

"People should also do preventative things, like changing your diet, and that may involve missing out on some things you really like, but it's better than potentially dying.

"I must give a big shout-out to the staff at BRI and LGI, who looked after me from the moment I stepped through the doors. I'm very grateful to them."

Chris is originally from Scunthorpe, and moved to Bradford in 1984, to do a teacher training course at Bradford College. He went on to teach at Royd Mount Middle School in Thornton and Marshfield Primary School, as well as in a number of other local schools as a supply teacher.

His first teaching job, however, was in Zimbabwe, where he taught at Pakati Secondary School in the rural town of Murewa. Chris describes his time there in the late 1980s and early 1990s as an "extraordinary experience".

"The people there were extremely welcoming, and when I go back to visit today, they still welcome me", he said.

"It's a small, rural secondary school. There was no running water or electricity back then. I went back to visit in 2018 - 30 years later - and things had changed, but I asked the head what further developments they would like to see, and he said that they needed computers."

Through his project Friends of Pakati, Chris has donated computers to the school in a bid to support students and staff.

A life-long Scunthorpe United fan, who has "always enjoyed living and working in Bradford", Chris even did a sponsored walk between Bradford and Scunthorpe before a game between the two clubs in 2019, to raise more money for the school.

"After the walk, the Scunthorpe chairman gave some additional funds, and we also got some more computers from the Stephenson Group in Leeds", he added.

Looking ahead to the new football season, he said: "It might be disappointing to some in Bradford that I still follow my hometown club, but Bradford have signed a few ex-Scunthorpe players recently, and I always keep an eye on their progress.

"I'd be very surprised if Bradford are not competing this year, especially after the players they've picked up in Abo Eisa and Alex Gilliead. So they should certainly be good enough to compete for the play-offs, at least.

"As for Scunthorpe, we barely survived by the skin of our teeth last season, so I think realistically mid-table might be as good as it gets this year, but you never know!

"I have a season ticket at Scunthorpe so I'm always at home games, and I always have the pleasure of coming to Valley Parade when we play here, too, and I'm looking forward to doing that again."