Bristol’s ultimate bodyguards – St John Ambulance first aiders
save theatregoer’s life
X-Factor winner and star of The Bodyguard Alexandra
Burke visits patient and lifesaving volunteers
St John Ambulance first aiders have been thanked for saving the
life of Judith Mansfield, a theatregoer whose heart failed as she
was waiting for a performance of The Bodyguard to begin, in
Bristol, on Thursday January 21.
X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, the leading actress in the
musical, visited the patient and her lifesavers in the Bristol
Royal Infirmary on Saturday 30th January to recognise their heroic
Judith, from Highbridge, Somerset, was at the city’s Hippodrome
theatre with her daughter, Bev Bishop, when she collapsed in her
‘Completely out of the blue’
‘There was no warning,’ said Bev. ‘Mum had been a bit puffed out
on the walk from the car park to the theatre, but she’s asthmatic
and I didn’t think it was anything unusual.
‘Her cardiac arrest was completely out of the blue; we were in
our seats and one minute I was talking to mum, the next moment she
was out cold – it was terrifying.’
Fortunately, Kristian Keyte – a St John Ambulance volunteer who
is currently training as a nurse at Weston General Hospital – was
on a night out and sitting nearby.
Kristian rushed to Judith’s aid as soon as he realised she was
unwell, and started giving cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
He was swiftly joined by the St John Ambulance volunteers who
were providing first aid at the theatre – Craig Rankin and Steve
While Kristian continued giving CPR, Craig – whose day job is
working as a St John Ambulance paramedic – used the Hippodrome’s
portable defibrillator to deliver the single life saving electric
shock to Judith’s heart which revived her.
By the time the ambulance arrived and Judith was taken to the
Bristol Royal Infirmary, she was responsive and talking.
‘The right place at the right time’
‘Mum was so very lucky to be in the right place at the right
time – it could’ve been a completely different story,’ Bev
‘So many people helped us – especially the St John Ambulance
volunteers. I can’t thank them enough.
‘We are eternally grateful to everyone involved, and my mum was
treated with the utmost dignity and respect.’
Judith, recovering in hospital, doesn’t remember her cardiac
arrest. ‘I got to my seat in the front row of the Grand Circle,
took my coat of and the next thing I remember is coming round and
people asking me if I was ok.’
‘These three St John Ambulance boys saved my life. If I hadn’t
gone to the theatre that evening and I’d been at home when I had a
cardiac arrest, I don’t know what would’ve happened.’
‘I’m very lucky to have been in the right place at the right
Alexandra Burke was delighted to meet Judith and her life savers
at the Bristol Heart Institute – particularly as Saturday night was
her last performance in the city.
‘I’m just so thankful that Judith is ok and it’s lovely to meet
her,’ said Alexandra.
Craig Rankin has volunteered for St John Ambulance for eight
years and works as a paramedic with the South Western Ambulance
Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).
‘It’s very rare to get an incident like this and it just goes to
show that if you get “hands-on”, delivering CPR, and use a
defibrillator early the outcome can be so positive,’ said
‘It’s amazing that Judith was talking to us so quickly, on the
night, and it’s lovely to see her recovering so well at the Bristol