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Swallows leisure centre staff in Sittingbourne praised for saving life of member

09 May 2013
by Andy Gray
Swallows leisure centre, Sittingbourne

Swallows leisure centre, Sittingbourne

Leisure centre staff have been praised for saving the life of a man who suddenly collapsed during an exercise class.
The 59-year-old suffered a heart attack on Tuesday morning  at the Swallows in Sittingbourne and technically died for six minutes before he started breathing again.
He had been taking part in a group spin session, a cardiovascular workout which is designed to replicate road cycling.
Centre spokesman James Reynolds said: “We are very proud of the staff members who all acted quickly to save a life at the centre.
“Our team are expertly trained in first aid to ensure that all of our customers are able to enjoy exercise in a safe environment.”
Staff have also been praised by Sittingbourne fire station watch manager Mat Barney who says they did a “sterling job”.


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The drama happened at about 10.45am when the man, who has yet to be named, suddenly dropped to the floor during the tough training session.
The centre’s duty manager Chris Coveney and lifeguard, Lauren Butcher, were immediately called to the studio.
Along with spin instructor, Kelly Marsh, and operations manager, Craig King, they provided CPR and two shocks using a defibrillator.
Paramedics arrived at the scene moments later and discovered the man had started breathing again.
Police and Kent Air Ambulance, which landed at Borden Grammar School, were also called.
The patient was taken by road ambulance to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where he is said to be making a good recovery.
Speaking of his staff’s incredible life-saving effort, Mr Reynolds said: “It is rare that those skills are put to the test with a case as serious as this, but the proper first-aid procedure was followed and we are delighted that a near-fatality was avoided.”
Sittingbourne red watch crew manager Mat Barney

Red watch manger Neil Ryder

Fire crews at the leisure centre handing out safety leaflets were called away on a “shout” two minutes before the man collapsed.
Watch manager Mat Barney said: “When we arrived back they were still working on him downstairs.
“We would have assisted with helping lift him but there were lots of paramedics there to move him.
“After listening to staff and paramedics, they did an absolutely sterling job.
“If they had not acted so quickly and professionally, the outcome could have been very different.”

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