A quick-thinking Wigan councillor saved the life of an elderly man who collapsed in front of him, just weeks after undergoing first aid training.
Councillor Chris Ready caught the 90-year-old man in his arms and performed basic first aid, after he suffered a sudden illness and helped him regain consciousness before paramedics arrived.
Mr Ready was one of 20 councillors who underwent basic life-saving training in August as part of the ‘Heart of Wigan’ campaign, which aims to cut the number of people dying from heart-related conditions in the borough.
He said: “All of a sudden I saw his legs wobble and he collapsed. I caught him in my arms and I put him in the recovery position on the floor and made sure his airways were open.
“I spoke to him, but at the start he looked really bad and I thought he was gone so I kept talking to him telling him that he was okay and that I was with him to keep his mind going. They told us in the training that was important.
“My wife was totally shocked by what I did. Before the training I would have been someone who would have stepped back and let someone else deal with it.”
He added: “The paramedics thanked me and said I could well have saved his life. I am grateful that I did the training, it’s a good feeling to know you have helped somebody.”
Cllr Ready was one of the first groups of councillors to undergo training by qualified British Heart Foundation trainers and learnt the first aid skills that are needed if someone has had a heart attack, and also how to use defibrillators.
Cardiovascular disease is one of Wigan Borough’s biggest health problems.
In 2012/13 there were 14,152 people diagnosed with coronary heart disease in the borough which is around one in 20.
Labour councillor, Damian Edwardson, who is leading the Heart of Wigan campaign, said he started up the movement after suffering personal tragedy as a consequence of heart disease.
His mother died aged 46 following a heart attack.
He said: “I said at the start of the scheme that lives will be saved. I didn’t realise that it would happen so soon.
“I am proud of what Chris has done and it has made me even more convinced that the Heart of Wigan campaign is hugely important.
“Heart disease is a major killer in Wigan Borough. We want a network of heart champions across the borough that can spring into action and save lives.”
Cllr Edwardson said the training of councillors will continue and the scheme is also set to train young footballers at Shevington FC.
The council is also working on installing defibrillators in public areas and persuading other organisations to make them available in their buildings.
Cllr Ready added: “I believe anyone who can do the training should do it. It doesn’t cost you money and you could save the life of someone, even a family member.”
Cllr Ready is not the only Wigan councillor to have put his training into action in recent months.
Councillor Clive Morgan, who represents Winstanley, also gave life-saving CPR to a man who suffered a heart attack at a cricket match in Southport.
Mr Morgan gave CPR for 10minutes after the elderly man was found to be unwell in his car.
Tragically the councillor’s efforts were unable to save the man, who sadly died.
Mr Morgan said although it was a ‘sad outcome’ it had inspired some of the young cricketers to want to get the first aid training.