The sister of a former Derby County player says she has been left heartbroken after he died following a short illness. Jamie Vincent died aged 46 after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
The former defender also played for Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Portsmouth and Swindon Town. But his sister Lisa Clarkson said he always put his family first.
Lisa, who lives in Burton, has now told how Jamie’s family have been left devastated by his death as he leaves behind three children. Speaking to StaffordshireLive, she said she misses her younger brother.
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Lisa said: “He was a very charming, very popular person. He was incredibly kind and very generous. But he was also a joker who would make you laugh.
“His sense of humour was amazing and he was such good company. I remember when it was my sister Sharon’s 40th birthday. Sharon hated any kind of attention so she had said that she didn’t want anything special. On the night, he turned up at her house wearing a Mexican outfit with a fake moustache.
“She didn’t recognise him and thought it was a strippergram. She ran back indoors yelling. I think that sums up what kind of person he was.”
Jamie made more than 500 appearances for 11 clubs across his 19-year playing career. He began his playing days with Palace before moving to Bournemouth where he played more than 100 times.
After spells with Huddersfield Town, Portsmouth, Wallsall, Derby, Millwall and Yeovil, the left back moved to Swindon Town. He helped the Robins win promotion to League One in 2007.
Lisa was with Jamie at his mother’s home near Croydon when he died earlier this year. She says she was “heartbroken” when it happened.
About a week before his death, Jamie became ill with flu-like symptoms. Initially, he thought it was Covid but later learned he was suffering from a heart condition.
Lisa added: “He was living with our mum (in Croydon) at this point and our stepfather Jim was about to go into a hospice. Mum didn’t want to leave him alone so I came down from Burton to be with him.
“I came down on Sunday morning and sat with him. He was awake and talking but I could tell his breathing was quite laboured. He had finished his drink and I said do you want some more and he said yes. I went downstairs and came back up again. When I got in, I noticed I couldn’t hear him breathing.
“I’m a former nurse and I started CPR after phoning 999. He was taken to hospital and they worked on him for about 45 minutes. They called it later that day. I was heartbroken.”
Jamie leaves behind his children Eleanor, 23, Oliver, 17, and Leah, 14. He also has a two-year-old granddaughter Hallie.
Lisa said: “He was a brilliant dad. He was very teasing. If they were in the car and they wanted to put their music on, he would pretend to be a foreign taxi driver and not know what they were saying. He was there for them all the time.”
“Family was so important to him. We were all very close. My mum Maureen has been completely broken, I don’t know how she gets up in the morning. She’s an amazing woman and Jamie was her boy. She loved him so much.
“He was just so special to all of us. I’m just devastated. His light shone so brightly and it is difficult to know what life is going to be without him. I’m going to miss him texting me to tell me what music he was listening to and silly things like that.”
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Now, Lisa, who is 56, said she is raising money for the family. She added: “He died of dilated cardiomyopathy. It is a disease of the heart muscle in the left ventricle. Basically, the heart dilates meaning it can’t pump blood, as well as the muscle walls, are weakened.
“It is not an easy one to pick up and I am not blaming the hospital for not picking it up. Unfortunately, Jamie hadn’t yet got around to making a provision for life insurance. He was a big part of his family’s lives and made sure there was always that support there.
“We wanted to raise money for them. He used to play for a team full of ex-footballers called Sporting Kitz. They had a charity football match and they raised over £2,000. He had a lot of friends both in and out of football.
“He was a wonderful person who will be missed.” To donate to their fundraiser, click here.