The group are firm friends after that traumatic event (Picture: PA Real Life)A 56-year old man was saved by four strangers after he suffered a cardiac arrest while he was out running.
Alan Cleghorn, a retired software engineer, was out with his running partner and neighbour, Vivienne Magowan, in February 2017 when he collapsed and suffered a seizure, followed by a heart attack.
He was just 500 yards from the home he shares with his wife Barbara, in Lancashire.
Laura Barrie, then 16, was being driven home from school by her mum when she saw Alan collapse. She made her mum stop the car and jumped out.
As Vivienne put Alan in the recovery position to clear his airways, Laura, now 18, called 999 and her mum, Sarah, redirected the traffic, just as passing motorist Mick Charnley, on his way home from work, pulled up and rushed over to help.
Mick – who had no medical training – administered chest compressions, following the instructions of the emergency operator.
Alan is now back in the gym, but running is on hold for the moment (Picture: PA Real Life)As Alan’s distraught wife Barbara arrived, another motorist Brett Fielding, pulled up and offered his assistance as he was a St John Ambulance trained first aider.
He stepped in to give Mick a rest, continuing with the compressions, as they waited for the paramedics to arrive.
Barbara, who arrived at the scene just minutes after Alan collapsed, said: ‘It was the scariest moment of my life, I thought I had lost him.
‘I was utterly distraught and just remember screaming at the top of my voice, seeing the man I loved slipping away from me.
‘But the selfless intervention of these people saved him. The doctors told us afterwards that without their actions, Alan would probably not have survived, or at the least would have suffered brain damage.’
Barbara asked Vivienne to get contact details from everyone who had helped and, to show their gratitude, the couple invited all of Alan’s saviours to their home a week after he was discharged from hospital and treated them to a meal.
Alan had emergency surgery to unclog his arteries (Picture: PA Real Life)Now, the group of five strangers say they have an ‘unbreakable bond’ after the life or death ordeal made them friends for life.
After their initial meeting, the whole group now have regular get-togethers and meals out, and Alan and Barbara even went to Brett’s wedding in Portugal last June.
‘We have all shared a pretty life-changing moment together and that really bonds you to each other,’ said Barbara. ‘They are all lovely people and we really enjoy spending time with them.
‘Something good has come from something so horrible and, for as long as we both live, these people will have a special place in mine and Alan’s hearts.’
After his heart attack, Alan had emergency surgery to unblock his clogged anterior artery. Alan had lost both his parents in their 50s to heart-related conditions and, although he was unaware of it, his anterior artery was almost entirely clogged with cholesterol and fatty deposits.
Alan with his wife Barbara (Picture: PA Real Life)‘Everything happened in such a blur, but I do remember the paramedics saying to me as they got him into hospital, “Make sure he keeps up with the running!” Despite everything, it was a welcome bit of humour.
‘When he got to Blackpool, Alan was taken into surgery straight away and they put a stent in his artery.
‘And, although the operation was successful, because he hadn’t been breathing for so long the doctors told me that there was a possibility he may wake up with damage to his brain.’
Thankfully, Alan was fine and was allowed home two days after the heart attack.
Now, Alan is back at the gym, but sadly, his running jaunts with Vivienne are on hold for now.
‘I turned around and Alan wasn’t there any more. People were starting to get out of their cars and I could see Alan’s jacket on the road,’ explained Vivienne.
‘I’ve only used first aid before as a Mum dealing with minor cuts and bruises but you just run on adrenalin and I knew to stop him from choking on his tongue and check his breathing.
‘Thankfully the others arrived when his heart stopped because I don’t think I could have done it by myself.’
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