Great Melton woman was saved by CPR

A mother-of-two who has a serious heart condition is backing the call for more people to have CPR training.

Lynne Symonds, pictured, a charity founder from Great Melton near Norwich, collapsed five years ago and says it was only because her son-in-law was able to carry out CPR in the precious minutes before an ambulance arrived that she survived and was able to make a full recovery.

Following the high profile case of Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a game, Mrs Symonds is calling on more people to ensure they could carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event of an emergency.

Mrs Symonds' problems began with a cough but became serious five years ago when she was in Ghana checking on projects being set up by her charity Wulugu.

When she returned home an X-ray showed she had an abnormal heart, but even medical experts could not have predicted her collapse, which happened when her heart suddenly started beating erratically, meaning it could not effectively pump blood, and therefore oxygen, around her body.

Thankfully, her son-in-law Richard Sugden, who lives near Hitchin, happened to be visiting and was able to call 999 and carry out CPR.

She was diagnosed with severe dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart to enlarge and pump less efficiently. It can also affect heart rhythm.

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She was put on a regime of drugs that has helped her heart to recover well and in 2007 she was fitted with an internal defibrillator (ICD) that can shock her heart back into life if necessary.

Mrs Symonds said: 'I know there are others at risk of a cardiac arrest. In an emergency, CPR can really save lives.'

For more information about cardiomyopathy, call the Cardiomyopathy Association on freephone 0800 018 1024 or see the website

Do you have a story about a near-death experience? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email