Heroic strangers deliver CPR in street and save Felixstowe man's life
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A group of heroic strangers sprung into action and delivered life-saving CPR when a forklift driver from Felixstowe suffered a cardiac arrest in the street.
Kite fanatic Paul Thody was cycling home from work at Felixstowe Warehousing when he had a cardiac arrest on Wednesday, March 17, aged 62.
Mr Thody, who lives alone, doesn't remember much about what happened to him and woke up three days later at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, after being given a second chance at life.
But what he does remember is that without the help of four heroic passers-by - Ollie Woodgate, Brittany Van Wezel and Doug and Lisa French - he wouldn't be here today.
"They saved my life as I was pretty much dead when they found me," said Mr Thody, who was airlifted to hospital and had a stent put into his heart.
"I feel blessed and very lucky to be alive, and I could barely stop crying when I met them all.
"They did me such a big service, each and every one of them, and I will forever be grateful."
- 1 A14 closed in both directions near Ipswich after four-vehicle crash
- 2 Person dies in Ipswich house fire
- 3 'He was a really good man' - Neighbour's shock following Ipswich house fire
- 4 'Emotions are high' - McGreal on ugly scenes following Charlton loss
- 5 Ipswich drug dealer sentenced to two years in jail
- 6 Boris Johnson tells people to work from home as covid 'Plan B' confirmed
- 7 Mental health referral review after death of 'wonderful' 16-year-old boy
- 8 Former nightclub with flat conversion plan heads to auction
- 9 'I don't want families going through this' - Mum backs bridge campaign
- 10 Police 'concerned' for missing 15-year-old who was last seen a week ago
The first people to come to Mr Thody's aid were Doug and Lisa French, who jumped out of the car when they noticed him lying in the recovery position next to his bike, which had fallen into the hedge.
At first, they thought he was fixing it - but quickly realised something was wrong when they noticed he was not breathing.
"He was going blue, he wasn't breathing, and he didn't have a pulse, so I started giving him CPR," said Mr French, a sales manager at DHL who used to be a volunteer with the town pastors.
"It was really scary and tiring, but you just get straight into it and the adrenaline takes over."
After a few minutes of delivering CPR, Mr Woodgate took over, after initially being the one to notice Mr Thody fall from his bike.
Meanwhile, Ms Van Wezel called Mr Thody's workplace to find out his name, so they could try and bring him round.
By delivering the CPR, Mr Woodgate kept the blood flowing around his body until the first responder arrived, shortly followed by paramedics and the air ambulance.
Mr Thody was stabilised by teams at the scene and was airlifted to hospital.
"Everything aligned for him that day as all four of us are first aid trained and he was very lucky people were around," said Mr French.
"It was really emotional to see him out of hospital and it just made us realise that tomorrow is not a given, life is so precious."
Mr Thody is looking forward to thanking the four heroes when things open back up, with plans to take them out for dinner.
However, he said he feels "frustrated" to see the town's defibrillator being vandalised by youths in recent weeks and has pleaded with people not to be so reckless.
Mr Thody urged: "What happened to me could have happened to your dad, so please don't smash them up as they could save someone's life."
The defibrillator outside the public toilets in Sea Road was damaged for the third time in two years last month - with police issuing an appeal for witnesses to come forward.