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‘i thought I
letter sale
A letter written on the
Titanic the day before it sank
has sold for a record-breaking
had a cold
– now I have
The handwritten note, on
oversized embossed Titanic
stationery, was penned on
April 13, 1912, by first class
passenger Alexander Oskar
Holverson, who intended to
post it to his mother in New

lost my limbs’
Mr Holverson, a salesman,
was one of more than 1,500
passengers and crew who died
when the Titanic struck an ice-
berg on April 14.
The letter, written on three of
four pages, was found in Mr
Holverson’s pocket notebook
when his body was recovered.
It fetched £126,000 during an
auction of Titanic memorabilia A dad of three has been left with Marcus Hughes
at Henry Aldridge & Son in no feet and only part of one hand Reporter
Devizes, Wiltshire, yesterday. after doctors had to perform dras-
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge tic surgery to save his life.
said he was delighted at the Chris Garlick, 46, had to have
record sale. both his legs and one of his hands He added: “I’m looking forward
He said the letter was “excep- amputated after suddenly falling to the future because I did manage
tional on several levels, includ- ill with what he initially thought to survive sepsis. I have survived
ing content, historical context was just a cold. and I have got things to do. I’m
and rarity”. Only hours later Chris was left going to be a father and a husband
The letter is one of the last fighting for his life after doctors again.”
known to have survived the found that he had contracted sep- On Saturday, July 15, Chris, who
sinking and the last known sis, a condition which causes the runs a chiropractic clinic in Car-
letter written on board by a vic- body’s immune system to attack diff alongside Karran, began com-
tim. its own tissue and organs. plaining of cold and flu-like symp-
It was received by Mr Holver- Massage therapist Chris, whose toms.
son’s mother after his body was children are aged 10, eight and By Sunday he felt so unwell he
recovered and remained in the five, described his gratitude to the was confined to his bed at home. Chris in intensive care at the Royal Gwent
family. medical professionals who saved “On Sunday morning I was feel- Hospital in Newport and, right, seven
In April 2014, the last letter his life, and his wife Karran, who, ing really rough,” Chris said. “We weeks after his amputations
written on the Titanic sold for a he says, has had to “hold the fort” were going to take the kids swim-
total of £119,000. It was penned while he’s been in hospital. ming but I said I just couldn’t straight and the pain in my head was
by survivors Esther Hart and Chris said: “To watch what my manage it. So Karran put a film on unbearable, and that’s the last thing I
her daughter Eva, seven, eight wife has gone through; I’m just so for the children.” remember.”
hours before the ship sank. grateful. It was probably the worst Karran, 41, returned to the bed- Karran had recently started a train-
Rusty locker keys from the you are ever going to get. She room a while later and found he ing course with a view to returning to
Titanic that belonged to a cabin would watch as my levels would was running a high temperature, nursing and recognised some of
steward who survived the dis- drop and she would be told I was but he was so weak he was unable Chris’ symptoms.
aster were also sold at the auc- going to die. But she’s such an to get into the bath to cool off. She telephoned NHS Direct and his clotting wasn’t working, so he was
tion for £76,000, while two pre- amazingly strong person.” Chris said: “I couldn’t walk after allowing the operator to hear bleeding everywhere,” Karran said.
viously unseen photographs of Chris’ laboured breathing down the “Because his blood pressure was
the ship made £24,000. line, an ambulance was immediately so low, what your body naturally
dispatched to their home. does is try to maintain your vital
Chris was taken to the intensive organs. This means your extremities
Sh Bat care unit at the Royal Gwent Hospital don’t have enough blood running to
ow h in Newport, where he was placed on them.”
er to W assisted breathing apparatus and She added: “They were talking
In a given a blanket course of antibiotics. about amputations probably a week
ON lk- Karran said: “At four o’clock he was into his illness.”
E in
Da talking to me, and by six o’clock he A build up of dead tissue, known as
y! was near death; literally. For four necrotic tissue, around Chris’ limbs
days they told me he was going to die, was found to be causing strain on his
so they were preparing me for the body.
worst.” Chris was visited by a surgical con-
During the first night, Chris had to sultant, who broke the news to the
be resuscitated. His condition even- couple that he would have to ampu-
tually stabilised, but he remained in a tate below the knee on both legs.
coma for a further fortnight. Karran said: “I remember he said
Karran said doctors discovered to me ‘please don’t let them take my
Chris had been infected by meningo- legs’, because he loved walking on the
coccal bacteria, which led to the sep- beach and he was worried that he
Bespoke Walk-In Baths and tic reaction. would never feel the sand under his
Wet Rooms also available. Sepsis is a life-threatening condi- feet again.”
tion that arises when the body’s On August 30, the day of his daugh-
response to infection causes injury to ter’s 10th birthday, Chris went into
Easy Life is a family business with a personal touch, specialising in walk-in baths, walk-in its own tissues and organs. It is most surgery to have his legs amputated,
showers and stair lifts to find out more please visit: commonly caused by bacterial infec- as well as his left arm above the wrist or tion. but below the elbow at Morriston
115 Station Rd, Llandaf f North, Cardiff, CF14 2FD “His lungs had stopped working, Hospital in Swansea. Surgeons were
his heart wasn’t working too well and able to save the palm of his right
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