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Councillor saves a life just weeks after heart training
Wednesday 8th October, 2014

A councillor saved the life of an elderly gentleman who collapsed in front of him just weeks after under-going first aid training on a council-led scheme.

Councillor Chris Ready, who sits on Wigan Council, was one of 20 councillors who underwent basic life-saving training in August as part of the “Heart of Wigan” campaign.

The campaign, led by Wigan Councillor Damian Edwardson and the council’s Public Health Team, aims to cut the number of people dying from heart-related conditions in the borough by encouraging them to lead healthier lives and train people in basic life-saving skills.

Cllr Ready was one of the first group of councillors to undergo training in August by qualified British Heart Foundation trainers. He learnt the first aid skills that are needed if someone has had a heart attack and also how to use defibrillators.

On Sunday, 21st September Cllr Ready was on a break at The George hotel near Hexham in Northumberland when towards the end of the evening an elderly man collapsed just in front of him.

Cllr Ready straight away put his training into action and knew exactly what to do.

He said: “All of a sudden I saw his legs wobble and he collapsed. I caught him in my arms.

“I put him in the recovery position on the floor and made sure his airways were open.

“I spoke to him, but at the start he looked really bad and I thought he was gone.

“Everybody stood back and let me do it. They must have thought I looked like I knew what I was doing.

“I kept talking to him telling him that he was okay and that I was with him to keep his mind going. They told us in the training that was important.”

Cllr Ready helped the man, aged 90, slowly regain consciousness before paramedics arrived.

The elderly man’s daughter later confirmed that he had suffered heart attacks before and he had been kept in hospital.

“The paramedics thanked me and said I could well have saved his life,” said Cllr Ready.

“My wife was totally shocked by what I did. Before the training I would have been someone who would have stepped back and let someone else deal with it.

“I am grateful that I did the training. It’s a good feeling to know you have helped somebody.

“I believe anyone who can do the training should do it. It doesn’t cost you money and you could save the life of someone, even a family member.”

Cllr Ready has since tried to contact the man’s family via the hotel to see how he is but has not been successful.

Cardiovascular disease is one of Wigan Borough’s biggest health problems. In 2012/13 there were 14,152 people diagnosed with coronary heart disease in the borough that’s around one in 20.

Cllr Ready is not the only Wigan councillor to have put his training into action. Councillor Clive Morgan, who represents Winstanley, gave CPR to a man who suffered a heart attack at a cricket match in Southport.

Cllr Morgan gave CPR for 10 minutes after the elderly man was found to be unwell in his car. Tragically the man died despite the councillors efforts. Cllr Morgan said it was a “sad outcome” but it had inspired some of the young cricketers present to want to get the first aid training.

Councillor Damian Edwardson is a passionate leader of the Heart of Wigan campaign having suffered personal tragedy as a consequence of heart disease. Councillor Edwardson’s mother died aged 46 following a heart attack.

He said: “I said at the start of the scheme that lives will be saved. I didn’t realise that it would happen so soon.

“I am proud of what Chris and Clive have done and it has made me even more convinced that the Heart of Wigan campaign is hugely important. Heart disease is a major killer in Wigan Borough. We want a network of heart champions across the borough that can spring into action and save lives,” he said.

Cllr Edwardson said the training of councillors will continue and the scheme is also set to train young footballers at Shevington FC. The council is also working on installing defibrillators in public areas and persuading other organisations to make them available in their buildings.

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