Sepsis campaign targeting farmers launched following death of 26-year-old Cumbrian woman

ITV, Monday 3 October 2022

The family of a farmer who died from sepsis say they are already saving lives by raising awareness of her story.

Hannah Brown, who lived near Appleby, died in March 2021 after falling ill and developing sepsis. Her loved ones are campaigning to stop anyone else suffering the same fate.

Aged just 26, she died of sepsis after falling ill on a Friday with flu-like symptoms.

On Sunday afternoon, she was told by a friend she might have sepsis. She then went to Penrith Hospital and then blue-lighted to Cumberland Infirmary where she later died.

Leaving behind her partner Ben Richardson and her then seven-month-old daughter.

“I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what we’ve had to go through,” said Mr Richardson. “I wish I’d have known how to spot the signs before we got to that point.”

He said: “I don’t know how like our family friend could spot just talking to her for 2 minutes in the Co-op in Appleby. Yet, I lived with her. We all saw every hour of every day and we couldn’t spot and if we all knew how we could have prevented it.”

Experts believe people working in agriculture are more vulnerable to the condition – as they are more likely to suffer cuts and grazes at work – and less likely seek medical help.

The victims include many farmers who have picked up cuts during their work. Their isolated and rural settings mean they do not seek the medical attention as quickly as they should.

A new campaign video launched by the Sepsis Trust aims to raise awareness in the farming and rural communities. Hannah is the face of it, coinciding with what would have been her 28th birthday.

It urges anyone working in agriculture to take note of symptoms, and seek medical help if they think they have the condition.

The video is welcomed by Dorne Richardson, Mr Richardson’s mother, who has been the driving force behind the campaign – raising more than £65,000 for the charity.

She said: “In this village alone two ladies have had sepsis and been very, very poorly in hospital and were told that had they not presented themselves at the hospital, they wouldn’t be here today.

“And both of those have said that had they not known about Hannah, they wouldn’t have gone to the hospital. So we know we’ve saved two lives, but we just want to save so many more.”

Click here to learn more about our farming campaign.