Survivors of Bystander CPR Support Life-saving Ambulance Service Campaign

16 September 2016

Cardiac arrest patients whose lives have been saved by Good Samaritans are supporting a Yorkshire Ambulance Service campaign to encourage people to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

And others who are alive today because someone successfully performed the simple life-saving procedure are being urged to throw their weight behind the #CPRSavedMyLife campaign on social media.

All they have to do is take a selfie with an A4 sheet of paper entitled #CPRSavedMyLife, including their first name and how old they were when they suffered a cardiac arrest, and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - don’t forget to tag @YorksAmbulance (Twitter and Instagram) and @yorkshireambulanceservice (Facebook)!

Jason Carlyon, Resuscitation Manager with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “The campaign poster illustrates that cardiac arrests can affect anyone of any age and we are hoping that this powerful imagery will encourage members of the public to learn CPR so they have the skills to save the life of a loved one of stranger in an emergency.”

The #CPRSavedMyLife campaign is being held as part of preparations for Restart a Heart Day on Tuesday 18 October 2016 when Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff and volunteers will teach CPR to 25,000 youngsters at 118 schools across the county.

The event is being held with support from the Resuscitation Council (UK), British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and other partner agencies. For the first time this year, YAS is being joined by all ambulance trusts in the UK which will be holding mass CPR training events as part of Restart a Heart Day (the aim is to teach CPR to more than 100,000 secondary schoolchildren nationwide).

Over 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrests outside of hospital in the UK every year. If this happens in front of a bystander who starts CPR immediately before the arrival of the ambulance, the patient’s chances of survival double.

Fifty-three-year-old Kay Hargraves knows more than most about the benefits of bystander CPR.

Her father, Phil Ott, who is now aged 73, has survived two cardiac arrests thanks to staff at his local gym and his wife Christine who started life-saving CPR prior to the arrival of an ambulance. And only months later Kay joined forces with three other passers-by to perform CPR on runner Ryk Downes who had collapsed by the roadside.

Kay, who lives in Pool-in-Wharfedale, near Otley, said: “I know about the importance of bystander CPR because that saved my dad’s life on two occasions so when I came across Ryk who had collapsed, instinct just kicked in.

“I had learnt CPR when I was a youngster and what stuck in my head was the Vinnie Jones’ advert when he did CPR to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.

“While it’s not nice to think you may have to use CPR, it’s the best thing in the world knowing you have performed CPR and made a difference. I was one of four people who stopped to try and save Ryk’s life; none of us knew each other but we all worked together to help – it was incredible.”

Ryk, 51, a councillor for the Otley and Yeadon Ward of Leeds, had been on a 10-mile run when he collapsed just seconds from his front door in Pool-in-Wharfedale in January this year. Bystanders started CPR and also used a nearby community public access defibrillator located outside Pool-in-Wharfedale Post Office to revive him.

He was airlifted by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where he had a triple heart bypass. Within 14 weeks he was well enough to run the Leeds half marathon with his wife Bev and daughter Sherri with a defibrillator on his back to raise awareness of the importance of the equipment. He is now planning to do a 60-mile run from Guisborough to Filey on 17 September and climb to Everest Base Camp next Easter.

Ryk, who has helped to raise funds for four additional community defibrillators in Yeadon and Otley, said: “A combination of CPR and the defibrillator is the reason I am here today. The bottom line is that if no-one does anything, the patient will die, but if you do something, their chances increase significantly so I would encourage all survivors of bystander CPR to support the #CPRSavedMyLife campaign; let’s see if we can get as many people as possible to learn CPR.”

Phil, who lives in Boroughbridge, was resuscitated by staff members at his local gym in Ripon when he collapsed in February 2015. When he suffered another cardiac arrest 15 months later, his wife Christine was on hand to help.

Christine said: “I grabbed the phone and rang 999 and automatically started doing what I had seen them do at the gym the previous year. I have never been taught CPR but I knew I had to do it to give him the best possible chance of survival. When the ambulance arrived, they took over and they were brilliant, we can’t praise them enough.”

Phil, a retired joiner, added: “I am a prime example of how CPR can make a huge difference and I hope the Yorkshire Ambulance Service #CPRSavedMyLife campaign makes others learn this important skill – even if one life is saved as a result, it will have been worthwhile.”

  • If you would like to learn CPR, you can: visit YAS First Aid Training at
  • attend a YAS roadshow featuring our mobile CPR centre – check for dates/locations
  • visit the Save a Life Education Centre at the National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield
  • nominate a group/society/organisation to benefit from free first aid training, including CPR, with a YAS Commercial and Education Trainer, by contacting Ali Richardson, email or phone 01924 584416.