Life saved at England match

Ben and Laura, football lifesavers

AS football fans all over Europe eye up international relations between clubs in the Euro 2008 action, a young London mum has been telling how she and a fellow first aider saved the life of an Italian footballer.

Laura Denton, 29, was on duty as a St John Ambulance volunteer at a friendly football match between England and Italy when one man collapsed to the ground, clutching his chest.

The recent event, staged at St Mary’s College for players aged 55 and over, had attracted a large crowd from the local community.

Sometime into the match, a man was spotted clutching his heart, before falling to the ground.

'I was on duty at the game with 17-year-old Cadet Ben Nicholson, and we saw the incident unfolding in front of us,' said Laura.

'We ran over to the man and discovered that he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse at all. I started CPR immediately and Ben called for an ambulance.'

St John Ambulance is a great organisation. 'I’ve really enjoyed being part of it and would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of volunteering in some capacity.

Laura Denton
Volunteer first aider

Laura, who has been a member of St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales’s) District for a year, continued CPR while the ambulance crew arrived. The paramedic team continued to treat the patient and took him away from the scene to receive further care at hospital.

It later transpired that the man’s arteries were 95 per cent blocked – leading to a significant heart attack.

'We stayed at the scene of the match and were really pleased when the ambulance crew drove back to tell us that the man was sitting up in bed at hospital and had clearly been very lucky,' added Laura, who is also a healthcare assistant.

Days after the incident, Laura and Ben were further applauded for their efforts when friends of the casualty turned up at their divisional headquarters to thank them for their lifesaving efforts.

'That was entirely unexpected,' said Laura. 'We were given a card and flowers and the friend told us that the patient was now well recovered after his heart attack and had returned to his home in Italy.'

Laura joined St John Ambulance’s Teddington Division because she has a great interest in caring for other people and hopes to one day follow in her father’s footsteps of being a paramedic.

'St John Ambulance is a great organisation,' she said. 'I’ve really enjoyed being part of it and would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of volunteering in some capacity.'