Skipper, 83, returns to seas after life-changing surgery at Northwick Park

William Coleshill had ignored a “pulsating feeling” in his body as he “doesn’t like to make a fuss”. 

William Coleshill had ignored a “pulsating feeling” in his body as he “doesn’t like to make a fuss”. - Credit: Northwick Park Hospital

An 83-year-old man who still works as a tug boat skipper is able to continue his career after life saving heart surgery. 

William Coleshill had ignored a “pulsating feeling” in his body as he “doesn’t like to make a fuss”. 

However, the main artery leading out of his heart had swollen to a point where it was threatening to burst.

A surgical procedure nearly a decade earlier had addressed the problem but had begun to leak, putting his life at risk again.

He was treated at Northwick Park Hospital just in time, with surgeon Nung Rudarakanchana saying he could have “dropped dead”. 

She replaced the existing stent - a fine mesh-like tube covered in fabric - that stops the artery from rupturing.

Nung said: “It’s a long delicate procedure and Mr Coleshill has made an extraordinary recovery considering his age.”

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William compared his recovery to his day job that sees him towing decommissioned ships to new ports or shipwrecking yards on the coasts of Turkey and Pakistan.

“I’ve survived Force Eleven gales where the waves have been bigger tower blocks,” he said. “You just have to stay calm and ride it out.”