'Thanks for saving my life'

A KEEN karate fan who was saved thanks to the quick-thinking actions of his classmates has said a big thank you today.

Rebecca Lefort

A KEEN karate fan who was saved thanks to the quick-thinking actions of his classmates has said a big thank you today.

Kelvin Abbott 57, of Sprites Lane, Ipswich, almost died after he collapsed with a heart attack during a lesson at Maidenhall Sports Centre.

Thankfully his instructor, Jon Donohoe, Jon's daughter Alice, nurse Karen Gallant, and fireman Trevor Watson were on hand, along with centre staff, to keep him alive until paramedics arrived on scene and restarted his heart with a defibrillator.

Since then the life-saving machines have been installed at all of Ipswich's sports centres and Mr Abbott organised a series of fundraising events with his wife, Jean.

Now he has given £500 to the British Heart Foundation, and will give a further £1,200 to Heartbeat later this year.

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He said: “I'm doing very well now and I'm back to training twice a week - I've come on leaps and bounds.

“I owe it all to the people that helped me and saved my life.

“I was really lucky that the people in my class were so good. Karen was doing CPR, Jon was giving me mouth to mouth, and Trevor was holding my head still. Alice was running backwards and forwards helping with the phone.

“I am so grateful to them. If it wasn't for those four and their team effort I wouldn't be here.”

Once paramedics arrived at the sports centre in Maidenhall Approach he was taken to Ipswich Hospital before being transferred to Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, and undergoing a double by-pass operation just before Christmas.

Mr Abbott added: “Before this happened I took little things like walking for granted. But at first I couldn't walk and now I am able to walk again I realise it is absolutely beautiful!”

- SPEND a Little, Save a Life is an Evening Star campaign to get lifesaving heart equipment in all of Suffolk's busiest places.

The Star has teamed up with the East of England Ambulance Service to highlight the potential lifesaving importance of defibrillators.

Commonly known as defibs, the electric shock machines are relatively cheap, easy to use and are absolutely vital for cardiac arrest patients.

From big employers to public venues and bustling shops which see thousands cross their thresholds every day - all should be rallied to invest the £1,500 it costs to buy a defib.

The difference they can make is in no doubt as for every minute's delay in getting to a patient in cardiac arrest, the chances of survival reduce by ten per cent.

-To find out more about getting a defib, e-mail Jon Needle at jonathan.needle@eastamb.nhs.uk.