Villagers save walker’s life with heart-start machine

Cheryl O'Connor, Nicola Gee, Claire McEnery and Stuart Holbrook with one of the three new defibrillators in Read and Simonstone.
Cheryl O'Connor, Nicola Gee, Claire McEnery and Stuart Holbrook with one of the three new defibrillators in Read and Simonstone.
Share this article

Villagers who campaigned to fund three new defibrillators in Read and Simonstone say they have proved vital after a man’s life was saved.

Determined residents raised around £4,000 for the life-saving equipment after being inspired by former Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba who was revived by medics after his heart stopped during an FA Cup match in 2012.

But a Read man collapsed after a heart attack while walking along Whins Lane with his wife two weeks ago in echoes of the drama.

The stricken walker was found by Read parish councillor Clifton Pollard who performed CPR on him before the village’s first responder Matthew Woods arrived – giving him emergency treatment with a defibrillator which saved his life.

Mr Pollard said: “I just happened to be there at the right time. His wife had just rung 999 but she was panicking.

“I spoke to the 999 operator and they told me what to do to give CPR. I compressed his chest which kept him going until the first responder arrived with the defibrillator.

“The man survived.”

New defibrillators are now positioned at Read Constitutional Club, the Stork Hotel and St Peter’s School after villagers raised thousands of pounds.

Stuart Holbrook, who helped run the campaign, said: “The fund was inspired by the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba who would have died on the pitch had a defibrillator not been available.
“The episode promoted us to want to get some of the machines in the village and everyone has helped raise money.

“A defibrillator saved the man’s life in Read so it shows just how important they can be.”

The 18-month fund-raising campaign saw Read and Simonstone residents come together to raise money with events including charity meals and a gala fun day.

Cheryl O’Connor, Claire McEnery and Nicola Gee and her family at the Stork led the fund-raising which was boosted by generous local businesses, sports groups and Simonstone Parish Council.

The new defibrillators have been dedicated to much-loved resident Sheila Wymer who was at the heart of village life and a benefactor of the fund.

Stuart, of Whins Lane, said: “The machines are so clever. It talks you through every stage of what you need to do to help the patient.

“It won’t shock the patient until they need it. It is great to have these in the village – even if they save one life they will have been worth it.”

A free training session will be held for people interested in learning how to use the machines on Wednesday at the school from 3-30pm to 5-30pm.

People can contact 01282 772443 or sign a form at The Stork and St Peter’s School to book on the training.