Awards for life-saving leisure centre staff

Awards for life-saving leisure centre staff
07 February 2018

A squash player, who suffered a life-threatening medical emergency after a game, has had an emotional reunion with the leisure centre staff who helped save his life.

Shaun Walker collapsed with a cardiac arrest in the changing rooms of the Dolphin Centre last month. His squash partner – daughter Gemma’s boyfriend Robert Adams – raised the alarm. Dolphin Centre Gym duty manager Darren Cole and assistant duty manager Tom Ward rushed to help.

Mr Walker, who was initially unresponsive, was revived with CPR and the centre’s on-site defibrillator, which gives cardiac arrest patients the best chance of survival. Mr Walker spent five weeks recuperating in hospital and is now well on the way to a full recovery.

As well as Mr Walker unending gratitude and the respect of their colleagues, Darren and Tom have also had their actions formally recognised, with certificates of Meritorious Action for Lifeguards from the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).

Mr Walker returned to the Dolphin Centre on Tuesday (6 February), to thank Darren and Tom in person on the day they were presented with their certificates.

Shaun Walker said: “I can’t thank Darren and Tom enough for what they did. Without the quick thinking of my daughter’s boyfriend and Darren and Tom’s actions, I wouldn’t be here today. Quite simply, they saved my life and I’m over the moon they are getting recognition for it. They deserve a medal.”

Darren Cole said: “Though thankfully rare, emergencies like this are unfortunately part of the job. We are well trained, so thankfully we knew just what to do to help Shaun when he was taken ill. It was good to catch up with him again and hear how his recovery is going.”

Tom Ward added: “It’s an honour for us both receive this recognition, although that was obviously the last thing on our mind when we were in the moment. Adrenaline just takes over at a time like that and you do what you need to do. We’re all so glad it had a positive outcome.”

Mike Crawshaw, Head of Leisure for Darlington Borough Council, said: “We are all enormously proud of Darren and Tom for the way they put their training into practice and threw themselves into a stressful situation, ultimately helping to save a life. It says it all about their character that, after the incident was over, they just took a few minutes for a breather and a cup of tea before getting straight back to work. Both lads are a credit to the centre and to the Council.”

Helen Pendlington, RLSS UK Customer Engagement Manager, added: “Darren and Tom are real-life heroes. If it wasn’t for their training and quick reactions, the outcome could’ve been very different. Presenting awards such as this is one of the best aspects of my job.”

 

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