Loving wife pays tribute to 'one of a kind' Mansfield dad, 45, who died unexpectedly

A heartbroken wife has paid tribute to her husband who “always put others before himself”.
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Tony Gray was aged just 45 when he died unexpectedly at his home on November 12.

Despite their best efforts, paramedics were unable to save Tony after he suffered a pulmonary embolism.

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The much-loved family man was a popular staff member at Mansfield’s West Nottinghamshire College for 17 years, working within the college's post room and as a minibus driver.

Tony Gray with his son Tristan, eight, and wife Lorraine on their wedding day.Tony Gray with his son Tristan, eight, and wife Lorraine on their wedding day.
Tony Gray with his son Tristan, eight, and wife Lorraine on their wedding day.

He and his wife Lorraine were married earlier this year in July, after reconnecting during the Covid pandemic and becoming “inseparable”.

Lorraine said: “We first met back in 1999, when we ran into each other in a pub.

“We saw each other for a while but it fizzled out. Then at the start of Covid, March 2020, I sent a friend request to Tony and all the way through the lockdown we were just talking from morning until night.

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“And then the day the lockdown ended on July 4, we met up and we've been inseparable ever since.”

Tony was a popular staff member at Vision West Nottinghamshire College.Tony was a popular staff member at Vision West Nottinghamshire College.
Tony was a popular staff member at Vision West Nottinghamshire College.

Tony, who also leaves behind eight-year-old son Tristan and son-in-law Jack, suffered from a number of health problems including kidney disease and asthma.

Lorraine said his health took a turn for the worse following his mum’s death from leukaemia in October.

She said: “At the point of him being told his mum was dying, his health seemed to take a dive. She was diagnosed and passed away all within the space of three weeks.

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“Tony was off work for a while. He tried to go back last Monday, but his boss sent him home because he was struggling with his breath. As the week went on, he got a bit better – he was fine on Friday and Saturday.

Tony David GrayTony David Gray
Tony David Gray

“But on Saturday evening he walked into the kitchen while I was washing up and said he needed a cuddle. Then he went to take some bottles and cans out to the bin and when he came in he said he felt light-headed and dizzy.

“I told him to go and sit down. Next minute, I heard this bang and he had collapsed.

“He was out of it for a couple of seconds, but when he came around, he asked me to get his blue inhaler. He also had a machine for sleep Apnea, so I got him that as well but he began foaming at the mouth.

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“We ended up with two ambulances who worked on him for 45 minutes, but they just couldn’t bring him back.”

Lorraine said Tony will be remembered for his kindess and selflessness.

She said: “Tony was one of a kind. He had a heart of gold. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. Even when he was ill, he would always put others before himself. He would do anything for anyone and was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. His death was so unexpected and sudden.”

Jack said: “He was the most caring, loving person.

“Until the moment he died, he put others first before himself day and night, even when he wasn’t well. If anyone needed a person, he’d be that person.”

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To help give Tony the send off he truly deserves, his family has set up an online fundraising page – see bit.ly/3i3nlm1


College staff said they were “shocked and deeply saddened” by Tony's death.

Andrew Cropley, college principal and chief executive, said: “The entire college community is shocked and deeply saddened by Tony’s passing. Tony was a very well-known and much-loved member of our team.

“He had worked with us for 17 years in our post room and was also a very popular minibus driver. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he will be sorely missed by us all.

“I particularly remember a recent occasion when Tony drove a minibus full of guests from the Government and assorted local dignitaries who had visited the college.

“The weather was terrible and he was determined to get us all as close to our destination as possible to avoid getting too wet.

"When one of them realised they had mislaid their mobile phone, Tony went to great effort to search the bus, find the phone and return it to its owner, to her immense gratitude. There are countless stories like this that show what a great person he was."

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