Golfer’s heart felt tribute to life savers

Back row paramedic Laura Bedford, Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager for the North West Ambulance Service, paramedic Lois Newton, who was first on scene in the Rapid Response Vehicle, Ian Barton, Operations Manager and Jason Whalley, Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT1).
Front row Dave Johnson, Captain of Clitheroe Golf Club, Andrew Blockeel, Chris Ennis and Mark Schofield.
Back row paramedic Laura Bedford, Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager for the North West Ambulance Service, paramedic Lois Newton, who was first on scene in the Rapid Response Vehicle, Ian Barton, Operations Manager and Jason Whalley, Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT1). Front row Dave Johnson, Captain of Clitheroe Golf Club, Andrew Blockeel, Chris Ennis and Mark Schofield.
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A golfer who suffered a cardiac arrest mid-round has paid tribute to the people who saved his life.

Chris Ennis (63), of Pendleton, was playing the 11th hole at Clitheroe Golf Club when he suddenly fell ill.

In such situations, quick thinking is crucial and luckily for the self-employed handyman, who had only been a member of the club for five months, fellow new member and golfer Mark Schofield, of Whalley, acted fast.

“We were just walking off the 11th and Chris was a step behind when I saw him go down like a sack of spuds,” said Mark.

The 42-year-old who runs Ribble Valley Tennis Centre in Clitheroe and is first aid trained, put Chris into the recovery position and started to perform CPR. He then told his brother-in-law, John Board, of Barrow, who was also playing golf that day, to call for an ambulance and asked for someone from the golf club to drive down in a golf buggy with the defibrillator located at the front door of the club. Once he had hold of this he shocked Chris twice before Simon Doyle, a community First Responder from Sabden arrived and administered a third shock restarting Chris’s heart.

Fellow golfer Andrew Blockeel (32) of Clayton-le-Moors, who was playing the 16th hole at the time, also rushed over to provide an extra pair of hands.

“If it wasn’t for certain people not giving up on me I wouldn’t be here today,” said Chris. “The defibrillator was brilliant, but it was also the quick thinking of my fellow golfers and the CPR they performed that saved my life.”

Chris was subsequently rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where he underwent a triple heart bypass.

Still in the process of recovering, Chris, during a reunion at Clitheroe Golf Club, gave his heartfelt thanks to all those people who had helped to save his life that fateful day.

“I am going to train to be a First Responder myself to give something back,” Chris said. “Everyone put themselves out for me that day and I think it’s only fair that I train to do the same.”

Dave Johnson, who is the golf club’s captain, added: “When it happens it happens in a moment so it’s so important that we are all trained.”

The club is one of dozens of social venues across the Ribble Valley which has a public defibrillator, known as AEDs. This month, the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust is asking people to help find these life saving machines.

Thousands have been bought with good intentions but aren’t registered with the Trust.

However, it is essential for ambulance services to be aware of the locations of all AEDs in their area in order for Emergency Medical Dispatchers to direct 999 callers to them in the event of a nearby cardiac arrest.

AEDs are small machines which can “shock” a person’s heart into restarting in the event of a cardiac arrest and if this can be done in the vital first few minutes, patients have a 60-70% chance of making a full recovery.

Anyone who sees an AEDs, is asked to take a selfie with it and either tweet the photo via @NWambulance using the hashtag #findthedefib, giving as much information as possible regarding its location.

Or, send the photo via North West Ambulance Service’s Facebook page or email nwasenquiries@nwas.nhs.uk. If people don’t want to send a photo, they can just mail the location details and NWAS will make sure the device is logged on the system and ready to use in the event of an emergency.