Richard Tucker was woken in the middle of the night by sounds of his fiancée struggling to breathe.
After discovering she had turned a funny colour and had stopped breathing he started CPR.
Mr Tucker of Hydehurst Close was crowned a hero at a St John Ambulance award ceremony on Wednesday in London hosted by Myleene Klass.
At around 3am on 9th October last year, Richard was woken by his fiancée Bridget Massey making strange noises. Richard initially assumed Bridget was dreaming, so gave her a nudge, as he would normally, but got no response. After turning on the light he discovered she was having a cardiac arrest.
Extremely panicked, Richard rushed through to Bridget’s daughter Anna and shouted to her to call 999 immediately as her mum had stopped breathing.
He ran back through to Bridget and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He did around 10-15 rounds of CPR before George Moss a Community First Responder dispatched by the ambulance service arrived on scene. Mr Moss took over the resuscitation and then used a defibrillator to shock Bridget’s heart back into a rhythm. Later with paramedics on scene, they managed to establish a pulse and she was taken to Brighton hospital in a critical condition.
Seeing her lying there lifeless meant I absolutely had to do something to help her.
Even now I think it’s a miracle I work up. I’m such a deep sleeper that it’s very rare for me to be woken by anything, but I’m so grateful on this occasion I did.
Bridget, a normally fit and healthy mum of two, remained in an induced coma for around four days. Her family and friends were told, it was touch and go whether she was going to survive and they were warned that if she did she may have other health issues, such as brain damage.
Thankfully, about 24 hours after the hospital team brought her out of the coma, she began to speak. She had an internal cardioverter defibrillator fitted and three weeks later was discharged from hospital. She has returned to work as a Director of her family business Pureprint Group in Uckfield, and is feeling fit and healthy. Despite numerous tests, the reason for the cardiac arrest remains unknown, with no health issues discovered.
Where most would panic, Richard took control and performed what I genuinely believe to be life saving CPR. Had he not done this, I am under no illusion that I would not be here today. I owe him my life.
Richard, who is a dad of three, had the confidence to take action thanks to first aid training he had received in the workplace. He has spent almost a decade working on the railways, where he was a workplace first aider, and in September 2014 he completed a St John Ambulance Emergency First Aid at Work course through his role, also at Pureprint Group.
Having been in a situation where knowing these skills has saved the life of someone who means the world to me, I simply can’t stress enough how important it is to learn first aid. If I hadn’t known what to do, goodness knows what the outcome may have been.
Sue Killen, CEO at St John Ambulance, said:
Everyday Heroes is the very essence of what St John Ambulance is about – ordinary people doing extraordinary things through first aid. We believe that no one should suffer for a lack of first aid, and the actions of our finalists prove that first aid really can be the difference between life and death.
To see how you can support the work of the Crowborough Community First Responders see their website: http://crowborough-cfr.co.uk.
For more info about the award ceremony and the other winners see www.sja.org.uk/everydayheroes.