A BRIERLEY Hill widow has donated £530 to the hospital ward that saved her husband's life and gave them an extra 22 years together.

Raymond Bennett was diagnosed with septicaemia in August 1994 after being sent to Russells Hall Hospital with a suspected hernia.

His condition quickly deteriorated and he placed on a life support machine in the critical care unit, where his wife Karen stayed by his side.

Although his future looked bleak, the father-of-two defied the odds and made a full recovery.

But 22 years later, Raymond fell ill while on holiday in Salcombe with his wife.

Karen said: "He had a sore throat so I got the doctor out, who said he suspected he had septicaemia or strep throat. Because his blood pressure was through his boots, he was sent on blue lights to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth."

Upon arrival, the 55-year-old was diagnosed with septicaemia and a flesh-eating disease called necrotising fasciitis.

Despite the best efforts of medics, who performed three operations within 48 hours, nothing could be done to save Raymond and he died, surrounded by his family on June 12.

Karen told the News: "The staff at the hospital were amazing, just like they were at Russells Hall all those years ago."

The 51-year-old decided to ask for donations in lieu of flowers at Raymond's funeral and raised £1,030, which she has now shared it between the two hospitals.

She said: "I'd like to thank everyone who turned up at his funeral and donated, especially his company, First Components in Brierley Hill, where he was a design manager.

"It was an amazing day and I can't thank people enough for supporting me. I couldn't have got through this without my family and friends."

Karen and her daughter Kelly, aged 30, visited the Dudley hospital yesterday to present the cheque to staff at the critical care unit.

She said: "The family feel that if it wasn't for the staff at Russells Hall Hospital saving his life all those years ago they wouldn't have the memories they have of him today."

Karen Phillips, the hospital's fundraising manager added: “It was lovely to meet Karen and her daughter Kelly. It was so kind of them to remember us at such a sad time.”