Stowmarket/Ipswich: Mum’s heart-breaking loss after her Ipswich Town-loving son dies
PUBLISHED: 11:07 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 31 March 2014
Beryl Earley’s home has fallen silent after her 28-year-old son Justin, died after suffering a heart attack following an infection.
It is the third tragedy to hit the Earley family following the deaths of Justin’s siblings, Philip and Claire.
Tributes to Justin, who was born with a defective heart valve, have flooded in from Ipswich Town, where he played in the club’s disabled team and was also a long-standing supporter.
A card from the players and manager Mick McCarthy sits near the trophies Justin won with his team.
Mrs Earley, 65, of Jubilee Avenue, Combs Ford, Stowmarket, lost Philip, 34, in 2010. He was also born with a heart condition and died following his fifth major operation. Daughter, Claire, died from cot death only 15 weeks after being born six weeks premature in 1984.
Justin, who also had severe learning difficulties, had two bouts of heart surgery himself.
“We had an excellent relationship, a very close relationship,” his mum said. “He didn’t mind helping me, I didn’t have to ask him to do anything when I was ill last year – he was an absolute star.
“We were extremely close from the time he was born all the way through his life – we used to help each other.
“He would always be there for me, as I was there for him - there was so much love between us. We loved each other very much.
“I never thought for one minute that I would be the one left on my own. He always used to say to me, ‘if you go first I would come with you.’”
“My two boys are absolutely irreplaceable.”
Justin had a blood test after feeling unwell for a few days which picked up on a enzyme problem in his liver.
He was later taken to Ipswich Hospital’s critical care unit where doctors tried to work out how to effectively treat him.
But he deteriorated before suffering a heart attack. He died on March 13.
“I was shouting at him and screaming at him to fight this, but he could not,” Beryl said.
“He had such a massive infection his immune system and heart could not cope with it.”
Justin went to every home game at Portman Road and sat in the East of England Co-operative Stand.
Beryl praised the work of Warner Duff, the club’s disability liaison officer, who gave “a lot of support” to Justin.
An ITFC spokesman said Justin was “very well-known” at the club.
He said: “We all were shocked when we heard the news. Justin was known to a lot of people at the club including the players. We saw him at a lot of the games and he was obviously a big fan of Ipswich Town.
“Our condolences and deepest sympathies go to his family and friends.”
Beryl added: “We had what you might call a cheeky rapport - we were always making each other laugh. In some ways he was still like a child because of his learning problems so he would always be coming to me for a cuddle. He was always telling me ‘I love you mum’. I miss him terribly, I really do. This place is too quiet without him.”
An Ipswich Town flag is to be draped over Justin’s coffin for his funeral service on Thursday at 11.30am in St Mary’s Church, Combs.