Kind-hearted Emmerdale Cast Support World’s Biggest Life-saving Lesson

02 August 2016

Cast members from ITV’s Emmerdale have been learning life-saving skills as part of a Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) campaign.

On Thursday 18 October 2016 - European Restart a Heart Day - YAS will visit 118 secondary schools across Yorkshire to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to more than 25,000 children in what will be the biggest event of its kind ever seen in the world.

In preparation for the event, YAS staff visited the ITV studios in Leeds to teach CPR and defibrillator awareness to staff including some of the cast of Emmerdale who took advantage of the life-saving lesson in between filming.

Emmerdale star Chris Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard, said he was proud to support YAS’s Restart a Heart Day initiative and help to raise the profile of the importance of bystanders performing CPR in an emergency.

He added: “I did some training a few years ago but you forget things over time so I’m really pleased that Yorkshire Ambulance Service invited me to learn how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. I would definitely feel more confident if ever I needed to use it.”

Denise Black, who plays Joanie Wright in the soap, said: “It is so important that people learn CPR. One of my friends saved someone’s life by doing CPR when we were at secondary school so I know how vital it is. I didn’t know anything about defibrillators before but now I would have the courage to use one if necessary.”

For Nicola Wheeler, who plays Nicola King, it was the first time she had learnt the life-saving skill.

She said: “I live about 50 yards from a defibrillator in our community; it’s so vital that people learn how to use the equipment and how to perform CPR – it could save someone’s life.”

Nick Miles, who plays Nicola’s on-screen husband, businessman Jimmy King, said: “I think it’s brilliant that we’ve been given the opportunity to learn about CPR and defibrillators. My father died from a massive heart attack and I wasn’t there when it happened but if I had have been, I imagine I might have been able to make a difference with these skills.”

Bhasker Patel, who plays Rishi Sharma, added: “I have never learnt CPR before so this has given me a great insight so that, in the future, if I ever came across someone in cardiac arrest, I would have the confidence to help them.”

Over the last two years on Restart a Heart Day, YAS has provided CPR training to 31,000 youngsters at 137 secondary schools with support from the Resuscitation Council (UK), British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and other partner agencies.

This year’s event is set to exceed all expectations with the news that all 14 UK ambulance trusts will be working in partnership to host mass CPR training events on Restart a Heart Day so around 100,000 youngsters will receive a life-saving lesson on 18 October nationwide.

Over 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrests outside of hospital in the UK every year. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival falls by up to 10 per cent every minute without first aid. But, with CPR and the use of a defibrillator within three minutes, their chance of survival could be as high as 70 per cent. Defibrillators provide a high energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

Jason Carlyon, Resuscitation Manager for YAS, said: “We are incredibly proud of the award-winning CPR training event that we organise every year to mark European Restart a Heart Day and are delighted that the cast of Emmerdale is supporting our efforts and helping to raise the profile of the importance of learning CPR.

“Heart disease can strike without warning and can affect anyone of any age. In the ambulance service, we have so many patients who wouldn’t be alive today if it had not been for someone starting CPR before our arrival on scene. It’s vital that as many people as possible learn this critical skill.”