‘No words can cover how grateful I am’ – Norwich City fan back at Carrow Road one year after heart attack drama
A fortunate Canaries fan was thrilled to be back at Carrow Road on Saturday – surrounded by the off-duty paramedics who saved his life after a heart attack 12 months earlier.
Gerry Allard returned to the same seat where he had been sitting on April 6 last year, the day when he suffered a cardiac arrest amid the excitement of Norwich City’s match with Swansea.
With five minutes to go, 26,000 fans had their eyes fixed on the pitch, when suddenly the drama switched to the stands as the 68-year-old collapsed.
Three off-duty paramedics, Alan Jones, Lee Kinney, and Nick Todd, who were sat watching the game nearby, spotted what was happening and acted quickly to save their fellow fan’s life.
Mr Allard, from Reepham, recalled how he felt as his heart began to fail. He said: “I felt a rush of air through my head and then I remember laying on a stretcher as I went into the ambulance.
“I’m very fortunate that it happened where it did, and the people that saved my life were so close by.”
Mr Jones and Mr Kinney moved their patient to the exit where they could lay him down to start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Stewards quickly handed them a defibrillator and Mr Todd began chest compressions.
Mr Todd said: “We were with him for about five or six minutes and I think we had to shock him twice with the machine. His eyes opened and he was gasping, and then he even tried to sit up.
“It’s great to see him back at the home games and he’s recovered brilliantly.”
Mr Allard still goes running as well as playing badminton and squash but admits that he has had to slow down a little.
“No words can cover how grateful I am to the paramedics that day,” he said. “It really shows the benefit of having the equipment [defibrillator] nearby. I went running that morning so it could have happened then.”
For more information on defibrillators, and other stories about how they have helped patients to survive cardiac arrests, see www.eastamb.nhs.uk/news.