Christian Eriksen's collapse highlights the need for early medical help, says Stratford deputy mayor Gill Cleve as she offers free CPR training
AN initiative to make as many lifesaving heroes as possible is under way thanks to Stratford deputy mayor Gill Cleeve.
Gill has run her business Brookvale First Aid, offering training in basic first aid skills, for the last five years. She wanted to introduce free training in 2020 with an initiative backed by Stratford Town Council but was forced to shelve it after Covid struck.
However, following Danish footballer Christian Eriksen’s collapse during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday, the need for effective CPR to be actioned promptly was highlighted, and Gill decided to go ahead and offer the free training.
She said: “Because the need for training was back in the news, it was a case of let’s strike while the iron’s hot. I don’t want to make money from it – it’s about getting people trained.”
After setting up a Facebook page, Stratford-upon-Avon Community First Aid, Gill says she was amazed by the interest and has already been offered free use of Stratford Town Football Club and Tiddington Home Guard Club to hold sessions.
She added: “A Warwick University poll showed that a third of UK adults are unlikely to attempt CPR. Yet there are 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK – and 80 per cent of those happen in the home, so it’s someone you know and love.
“The hardest thing for people is that initial worry of ‘I’m scared I’ll do something wrong’. I explain when I’m teaching that unfortunately if it is someone that is not breathing, they are already classified as dead, and if you don’t do anything they will stay dead. You can’t make them worse. They are dead: they can’t get deader.”
As the incident with Eriksen showed, it is not just old people with obvious heart conditions who are affected. Gill said: “There are, for example, four reasons why children go into cardiac arrest: choking, anaphylaxis, asthma and drowning – those are not medical conditions.
“Early CPR is crucial. Only one in ten people survive cardiac arrest in the UK. That’s one of the lowest rates in the developed wo