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Joy for heart girl

PUBLISHED: 05:45 04 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

It was a joyous moment parents Debbie and Steve Ingram feared they might never see.

Five weeks to the day after their daughter was brought back from the brink of death Wendy was treated to a dream spin in her favourite car – a Mini Cooper.

It was a joyous moment parents Debbie and Steve Ingram feared they might never see.

Five weeks to the day after their daughter was brought back from the brink of death Wendy was treated to a dream spin in her favourite car – a Mini Cooper.

More than 100 classmates waved the 13-year-old and her family off for the Bank holiday weekend in the shiny blue new mini.

Sports fan Wendy's life was saved by teachers after she collapsed while playing with friends at Stoke-by-Nayland Middle School.

The 13-year-old had stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating.

She returned to classes last Monday after doctors fitted a state-of-the-art defibrillator in her chest.

To celebrate her recovery, the Ingram family gave thanks in a special assembly and presented headteacher, Joe Richardson, with a framed version of Rudyard Kipling's classic poem "If".

It includes the line: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs" in tribute to the school's part in helping to save her life.

After the assembly her classmates piled out into the grounds to watch Wendy and her parents drive off in the car.

"It is great," said Wendy, of Brent Eleigh. "It is a good surprise. The support I have had from everyone has been amazing. I did not expect so much."

Year 8 tutor Heather Yallop arranged the treat after contacting BBC Radio Suffolk. They made her dream come true with the help of Lind garage of Ipswich who lent the Ingram's the Mini Cooper for weekend.

Her mother, Debbie, said: "Wendy has posters of Mini Coopers and takes things off the internet and has models of them for Christmas.

"She heard about the surprise when she was at Guys Hospital and was told over the phone. When she heard she said: "really, wow."

When Wendy collapsed quick thinking teachers Allan Bancroft and Nigel Edmunds kept the teenager alive by giving her emergency first aid until the rapid response unit, ambulance and air ambulance arrived.

Her heart was restarted and she was flown to Ipswich Hospital. She was taken to Guy's hospital in London where the mini defibrillator was fitted.

Mrs Ingram said her collapse was down to a thinning of the right ventricle wall of her heart. It means when she exercises her heart can put in an extra beat.

It may never happen again, but if it does the defibrillator will shock the heart back to its correct rhythm.

Although Wendy can no longer games such as rugby she can carry on with the rest of her life as normal playing sports she loves such as netball, hockey and basketball.

Mrs Ingram praised the staff, paramedics, emergency services and hospital staff and said: "I am so happy because things could have been so different. It was a miracle. There are not many things you can call a miracle, but this is one of them."

She said the family have no particular plans on where to drive to over the weekend but said: "We are just going to ride off into the sunset and have fun."

Later this term the school's annual Charities Week will focus on raising money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance in recognition of the part they played in her recovery.


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