Comedian and Phoenix Nights star Ted Robbins has been in Burnley helping push out a campaign to save lives and restart hearts.
Just 10 weeks after collapsing on stage mid-show in Manchester with cardiac arrest, the funnyman was at Burnley Library throwing his weight behind a British Heart Foundation and BBC Radio Lancashire scheme to increase the number of people confident in administering CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation in emergency situations.
More than 50 people took the opportunity across two sessions to learn the vital skills after BHF research found just 45% of adults in the North-West have been trained in CPR.
With 80% of cardiac arrests occurring outside of hospital in the UK, currently fewer than one in 10 of these are survived, but in Norway where children are taught CPR skills at secondary school, the survival rate is 25%.
Mr Robbins admits he is lucky to be alive after a paramedic and heart surgeon leapt to his rescue from the audience, and has gladly taken a cracked sternum and 12 broken ribs in the effort to restart his heart.
He said: “The first person was the most important person and using his hands like we have been doing here at Burnley Library, he performed CPR on me and it meant my heart, my brain and my organs were kept alive. He saved my life.
I beg you to learn as it will save livesTed Robbins
“I shouldn’t be here today, the odds are massively against me. In Norway, children learn it to save lives.
“We’re a bit polite in this country, if someone collapses we think ‘should we do something?’.
“This is all about changing the mindset and if somebody collapses as people do, you don’t hang about, you get doing CPR and it’s easy to learn. I beg you to learn as it will save lives.”
Other BHF research showed 68% of people would not feel confident in performing CPR on a family member or loved one and 40% would be deterred in fear of causing more harm than good.
Last autumn, the BHF launched its Nation of Lifesavers campaign which aims to make CPR a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum.