TRIBUTES have been paid to two men who died from taking a suspected toxic batch of ecstasy at the weekend.
Former Hawkley Hall High School pupil Jordan Chambers, 19, was taken ill on Saturday, went to Oldham Hospital and died on Sunday.
The death of 28-year-old Gareth Evans, who also hails from Poolstock, is also being linked to some kind of dangerous substance thought to be ecstasy.
Mr Evans, who was also known as Gary or Gaz Ashton, died early yesterday. It is reported that he had been sweating profusely during the night while at his girlfriend’s house in Pemberton, went out into the cold of her garden to cool down and suffered a heart attack.
He then suffered another one as he was being taken to Wigan Infirmary by ambulance.
It is also being reported that the death last week of a young woman, possibly from the Leigh area, has been connected with the contaminated or so-called “super-strength” batch.
And as many as nine people are also being treated in Wigan Infirmary for symptoms thought to be related to the drug.
Accident and emergency staff at the hospital were put on special standby for the sudden influx of patients.
The North West Ambulance Service confirmed a 23-year-old Ashton man was taken to Wigan Infirmary with drug-related problems on Saturday night.
Toxicology tests are due to take place on the two dead men whose deaths,are not being treated as suspicious but have sparked a police investigation.
Det Chief Insp Howard Millington from Wigan CID said: “We are very concerned at how these deaths of two apparently fit young men have occurred.
“It is possible they are linked and this is something we are exploring as part of the investigation. It is possible that there may a particularly bad batch of drugs out there in the community and that is a concern to us.
“I would always urge people not to take illegal drugs and remind them that you do not know what they have been made up with.
“If you have any information, I would ask you to contact police as soon as possible. We will treat the details you supply with the strictest of confidence.”
Hawkley Hall headteacher Roy Halford today led the tributes to Jordan.
He said: “Our school community is saddened by the news of Jordan’s sudden and tragic death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends.”
Jordan’s neighbours in Baker Street, Poolstock, today said they were shocked and saddened by the news.
One 18-year-old, who did not wish to be named, said: “I had heard rumours that Jordan was in hospital.
“It is really upsetting that it takes this to realise how bad drugs are.
“I knew Jordan as we went to school together. He was a nice lad.”
Social media was full of tributes to both men.
Michelle Varey wrote: “RIP Gaz and Jordan...sad day in Wigan today. Absolutely heartbroken can’t get my head round this.”
Danielle Sharrock said: “Such a lovely lad RIP Gaz, can’t believe it.”
Anyone with information about the deaths and illnesses should phone police on 0161 856 7149 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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