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First aider Steve Walker suffers heart attack in Ashford

By Aidan Barlow

A first aid volunteer has praised his colleagues for saving his life after he suffered a heart attack at a charity event.

St John’s Ambulance members had organised a jazz night at Godinton House near Ashford last month when area manager Steve Walker fell ill.

The 59-year-old from Littlebourne had wandered away from the group, when colleague and district manager Dave Amos heard a commotion at the other end of the garden as people called for a first aider.

Ray Ashman with Steve Walker, Dave Amos and Dr Ian Jutting.

Ray Ashman with Steve Walker, Dave Amos and Dr Ian Jutting.

Mr Amos said: “I instantly thought Steve must have come across someone who needed our help. I ran over, but when I got there, it was Steve who had collapsed.”

He was supported by trained first aiders Ray Ashman and Dr Ian Jutting after Mr Walker had stopped breathing, so the team opened Mr Walker’s airway and began chest compressions.

The charity event was organised by St John’s Ambulance to raise funds for public access defibrillators, and was attended by 200 people, so it was fortunate that Mr Amos was able to go to his car to fetch a defibrillator at the critical moment.

Mr Amos added: “I’m pretty sure everyone left the evening fully appreciating why it’s so important to have this equipment available in public places.”

St John's Ambulance is raising awareness of the importance of public access defibrillators

St John's Ambulance is raising awareness of the importance of public access defibrillators

Meanwhile Mr Walker was taken to the William Harvey Hospital, where he woke up in A&E before he was treated for a blocked artery.

He said: “I was having a really lovely evening, enjoying the jazz and having a catch up with my friends.

“The next thing I knew I wake up in hospital having had a cardiac arrest. It was very sudden – I’d had no pain, no warnings really.

“The team did an excellent job and I can’t praise them enough. I was so fortunate to be amongst friends and colleagues who were so well trained.

“I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of CPR, but my story shows exactly why it’s better to know what to do and to be able to just get on with it.

“If I’d have been at home by myself, the outcome probably would have been very different. I owe them my life.”

To find out more about St John’s Ambulance, visit www.sja.org.uk or call 08700 104950.

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