Wisbech man who has died aged 79 had hole in heart op more than 40 years ago

A WISBECH man who has died aged 79 became a medical pioneer over 40 years ago after doctors carried out a hole in the heart operation.

When the six-hour operation was carried out in 1968 doctors were amazed Gil Easton, then 36, had lived a normal life with a hole in his heart.

The surgeon said he had never known of a person of his age having the operation: usually it was carried out on children.

Mr Easton spent many years in the licensed trade and for 25 years lived and worked with Margaret and Tim Buller who kept pubs in Norfolk until moving to Wisbech in 1971 to run the Bowling Green.

He worked as a barman and odd job man and later moved to help them when they took over the Algethi Guest House in Lynn Road.

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When their daughter, Liz McManus and her husband, Roy, a one time manager of Wisbech Town Football Club, took over more than 25 years ago, he stayed on.

A keen follower of Norwich City and later Wisbech Town, Gil also won many trophies with his greyhounds over the years.

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He was well-known at Wisbech, Peterborough, Swaffham and March dog tracks. He was a follower of speedway at Norwich until it closed and then at King’s Lynn.

He is survived by a brother, his three sisters and nephews and nieces.

A funeral will be held on April 19 at 9.45am at Fenland Crematorium, March.

Mrs McManus said Gil, a non smoker, died peacefully in the North Cambs Hospital where he had been suffering from lung cancer.

“He was a bit of a character and a really nice man,” she said. “He never married but there was never a shortage of lady friends in his life.”

She said Gil had often said he didn’t want a fuss should he die “but with so many wanting to pay their respects you have to do these things”.

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