Earby club steward (62) dies after drinking game

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The death of a popular club steward was the result of “misadventure”, an inquest has heard.

Sixty-two-year-old Douglas “Dougie” Harrold collapsed at Earby Conservative Club in the early hours of December 27th, after spending Boxing Day evening there.

Hailing from Liverpool, Mr Harrold, who lived in Shuttleworth Street, had been steward at the club for 15 years.

Vice-president of the club and long-time friend Stefan Irodenko said he had arrived at the Water Street club around 9-45 p.m. with his wife and Mr Harrold was already there drinking with friends.

He said: “He enjoyed a drink, but he could handle it. I could tell he’d had a few but he seemed fine to me.”

Later, around 11-45 p.m. Mr Irodenko said Mr Harrold took part in a drinking game with Jägermeister shots.

Although he said he still seemed fine, Mr Irodenko said his friend suddenly changed when, 15 minutes later, he collapsed.

He said: “We put him on a sofa and checked his airways. We thought he had just had too much to drink. But then when he wasn’t responding we called an ambulance.”

Despite efforts to revive him, Mr Harrold died soon after.

Consultant pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud told the coroners’ court at Burnley the post-mortem examination revealed a history of heart problems and high blood pressure.

He had been treated for a blood clot before Christmas and had been living with a blocked artery.

Mr Harrold’s children, Ian and Sarah, told the inquest they had not been aware of the full extent of his heart condition.

Ian said: “I don’t suppose even he knew just how bad his condition was. He wasn’t one to go to the doctors. He would only have gone under duress.

“I do believe that even if he had known the severity of his condition, he would never have told anyone.”

A toxicology report also revealed the alcohol level in his blood was more than four times the driving limit.

Dr Al-Dawoud said the cause of death was alcohol intoxication, with perhaps the contribution of an underlying condition of heart disease.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: “The verdict is one of misadventure, that is an unexpected outcome of an intended action. He would have had no concept that having those drinks would have killed him as he enjoyed a good drink.”

Following Mr Harrold’s death, a Union flag flew at half mast over the club in tribute.

A popular member of the community, he was described as a loyal servant with a great sense of humour.