Cyclist pays tribute to air ambulance heroes who saved his life

Clitheroe Bike Club members David Fish (left) and Keith Hughes are presented with their Survival Awards by chairman Chris Lee (s)
Clitheroe Bike Club members David Fish (left) and Keith Hughes are presented with their Survival Awards by chairman Chris Lee (s)
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A cyclist, who says he owes his life to the North West Air Ambulance after it came to his aid when he collapsed with a heart attack while out riding, has called for more Government funding for the service.

David Fish was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital when he fell ill while out on a ride in Dunsop Bridge in March last year. He was flown to Blackpool in 12 minutes and was rushed to theatre where doctors operated on him after discovering he had a blockage which had caused the heart attack.

Retired police officer David (52) said: “I am convinced they saved my life by getting me to the hospital so quickly.

“I just remember being out with friends on a ride and feeling rather uncomfortable.

“I took a rest and one of the other riders said she did not like the look of me so she called for an ambulance. We are very lucky to have a service like that but I don’t think a lot of people realise now much it relies on donations to keep going.’’

Grandfather-of-one David, who lives with his wife Tricia, was not the only member of the club to be helped by the Air Ambulance service. Fellow rider Keith Hughes skidded on an icy road and broke his hip while out riding and the air ambulance was called to assist him when he knocked himself unconscious.

Both riders were presented with the club’s Survivor’s Award at the annual presentation night. This is

a tongue in cheek accolade for members who have survived an incident while out riding. But on a more serious note the club has chosen the North West Air Ambulance as its charity for the year and members have already raised more than £1,000 for the charity and several more fundraisng events are planned for 2016.

Launched 15 years ago the North West Air Ambulance charity has provided the rapid pre-hospital care needed to make a life changing difference. It operates three helicopters, flying 365 days a year with doctors and paramedics on board providing emergency medical treatment when time is critical.

Because it can avoid problems of distance and congestion, it is never further than around 10 minutes to the nearest hospital in the region. However, it is the speed in which it can travel to the region’s specialist trauma hospitals that can make a life changing difference as trauma patients need to receive treatment quickly in order to prevent death or long-term disability.

The air ambulance covers 5,500 square miles providing an urgent lifesaving service to the eight million people of the North West and its visitors each year. Yet is relies entirely on the generosity of public support, donations and funraising.