I never knew Ben Dunne but I have a lot to thank him for. In January , 2010 he and his driver, whose name I don’t know, helped save my life.

I was to speak with Ben at a media conference in Cork when I collapsed in the foyer of the hotel. For two days I had felt very ill and unknown to me at the time, had all the signs of internal bleeding in my body.

But I started vomiting up black blood and collapsed in a heap. Ben and his driver rushed to my aid and tried to assist They quickly realised something serious was wrong and called an ambulance.

READ MORE:Tycoon Ben Dunne had heart attack on holiday with son Mark

The wonderful Mercy Hospital in Cork was only a three minute drive away and the driver was prepared to bring me there in their car if the ambulance didn’t arrive quick enough.

The ambulance was there in no time. I remember the paramedics treating me and lifting me on to their trolley and Ben and the driver, shaking my hand and wishing me well.

They were kind, considerate and generally concerned for my well meaning of a fella they didn’t know.

I was just about conscious when I was rushed to hospital. It turned out I had a perforated ulcer and had lost a serious amount of blood.

The ulcer had burst and was poisoning my body. There was extensive internal bleeding.

I was taken into intensive care and received a number of blood transfusions and I was out of it for most of the time.

My wife rushed down to Cork with my brother in law and soon my anguished parents followed suit.

Those were dark days for our family. My wife Karen‘a mother , Theresa, had died six weeks previously on Christmas morning and everyone was still grieving her loss.

I remember her sitting there at the end of the bed as I fought for my life watching over me Maybe it was the drugs but I will swear until the day I die she was there with me.

In the end thankfully I pulled through, and made a full recovery.

I was off work for over two months and had to sit at home resting and doing nothing to give the body the time to heal.

The doctors , nurses and one hospital porter in particular did a brilliant job with their care, patience and kindness.

But only for Ben Dunne and his driver who acted so quickly and made a song and dance to get the ambulance there as soon as possible , I wouldn’t be here. I was genuinely in a bad way .

I was very sad to hear about his sudden death in Dubai over the weekend from a massive heart attack. I never got to thank him personally for what they did to help me that grim day.

The one thing I know from various people I knew who were extremely friendly with him is that he was a very decent man and a good human being.

Ben might have come from a wealthy background but he knew who put the bread on his family’s table, and was a real genuine man of the people. His other great attribute was he was never afraid to say what he was thinking and most of the time he spoke sense.

His four children should all be very proud and honoured to call him their dad. He wasn't perfect but who is. He recognised his own faults and failures and publicly owned up to them.

I knew a lot of people who worked for him over the years and not one of them had a bad word to say about Ben Dunne.That also says a lot.

We have lost a giant in Irish retail and we will never see the likes of him again.May he rest in peace. Thanks for helping to save my life Big Man.

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