When Angela Marks put her name down for a first aid course at the Haydon Centre she had no idea her skills would turn her into a lifesaver just a few weeks later.
But that’s exactly what happened as she sat down for a steak at her local pub with her cousin and his son, who were visiting her from Birmingham.
Recalling the event Angela, 62, a retired nurse, said: “I saw my cousin take a chunk of steak and before he put it in his mouth I thought ‘that is a big piece’ but he carried on and then he started coughing."
“I thought he was having me on and he started drinking some shandy to wash it down, but when his eyes started running I knew something was wrong. He then stopped breathing and went blue.
“I grabbed him before he fell off the chair and I did the Heimlich manoeuvre but it still wouldn’t dislodge. So I put him on the floor and started CPR.”
It wasn’t long before a paramedic and then an ambulance arrived. Angela’s cousin was taken to hospital and has made a full recovery, thanks largely to her quick-thinking and the training she received.
Angela, who lives in Ash Brake, recalled: “They commended me at the hospital because they said I did everything by the book. Keeping the CPR going keeps the blood flowing to the brain. When I look back I think ‘Oh my goodness’ – did I do that?
“I never thought I would have to use my first aid training so quickly. I would say to anyone thinking of doing first aid training just go for it because you never know when you might need it and you could just save a life.”
Angela is one of the success stories of an initiative that has been rolled out in North Swindon with the aim of training 100 people to be qualified first aiders. Pictured right, First Aid trainer John Markey who takes the course
Locality 100 was set up North Locality facilitator Kati Wood after a resident, who attended a Locality coffee morning, explained he had been in a situation where a friend required first aid and he felt unable to help as he didn’t possess the necessary skills or confidence.
The initiative, which is funded by the Council’s Public Health team, has so far trained 30 people to be first aiders but a further, although full course will be held tomorrow 6 November in the Community Room at Asda Walmart.
North Locality Chair Cllr Toby Elliott and Cllr Claire Ellis, Cabinet Member for Customer Support & Corporate Services, will be the first councillors to attend one of the training courses when they take part in tomorrow’s session.
Cllr Elliott said: “I fully support this Locality 100 initiative and I am looking forward to attending Wednesday’s course. I would urge anyone who has not acquired these life-saving skills to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity and help us achieve our first aiders target.”
Cllr Ellis, said: “I was really pleased when I was invited to take part in the first aid training initiative. It is one of those skills that can really make a difference to our community and Angela showed that the training can actually save lives.”
For more information about the Locality 100 initiative and to sign up for the next First Aid course, contact Kati Wood, Locality Facilitator on 01793 466236, firstname.lastname@example.org or Helena Robinson, Locality Lead on 01793 466210 or 07919 111511.