A pensioner from Flushing has been reunited with the woman whose quick thinking and determination saved his life after he suffered a major heart attack while visiting the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth.
If it wasn’t for Ceinwen Morgans’ decisive action which saw her administer CPR on John Ollerenshaw for 30 minutes until the ambulance crew arrived, the 82-year-old church warden at St Peter’s Church would not have survived.
The catering team leader had only received first aid training weeks before and this week joined forces with the man she saved to help spread the message of how important it is to know what to do.
Ceinwen’s employers, Tempus Leisure have recognised this and the number of staff qualified in first aid has doubled since the incident, from four to eight.
Thankfully, Mr Ollerenshaw is making a full recovery after his ordeal which saw paramedics “shock” him four times as he lay on the floor at the pavilion. His wife, Sylvia, was warned he was unlikely to survive the night at hospital and doctors later confirmed that if Ceinwen had not taken action, Mr Ollerenshaw would have died before the paramedics arrived.
Mrs Ollerenshaw said: “Our local vicar came with me to the hospital and by the time we got there the staff had managed to get him going on the machines because he wasn’t able to do it himself.”
Her husband spent four days on life support before he was able to breathe on his own and after two weeks he underwent heart bypass surgery at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
The couple, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June, are now looking to the future although Mr Ollerenshaw has no recollection of the traumatic events which saw Ceinwen break two of his ribs as she carried out CPR.
“I don’t remember anything,” he said, “but when I came around it felt as if an elephant had trodden on my chest. I will be eternally grateful to Ceinwen and the fact she had completed the first aid course.
“There are lots of people who have cardiac arrests and do not survive – the only reason I did survive is because there was someone there who knew what to do. Anything I can do to encourage people to get the skills needed, I am happy to help.
“I live a busy and active life and felt fine but I knew I had high blood pressure and we found out after my arteries were blocked so it was inevitable it was going to happen. I guess I was in the right place at the right time. If it had happened somewhere else, who knows what the chances of finding someone who knew what to do would have been.”
Ceinwen, who lives in Falmouth, is a reluctant hero who says she only did what she was trained to do. “It all just happened so quickly, he went down like a sack of potatoes and I got to him in seconds.
“Once I assessed the situation I knew I had to do CPR, which was the first time I had ever done it on a real person. Nothing can prepare you for the real thing. I could feel his ribs breaking, but I knew I had to keep going.”