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Volunteers commended after helping to save footballer's life

While packing up at a parade night, four Royal Air Force Air Cadets volunteers were alerted to a medical emergency and rushed out to help save a footballer’s life.

They took over from Tom Fielding, a young member of the football club who had called the emergency services and initiated CPR.

Officer Commanding Helen Greaves from 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron told how the quartet worked as a team to keep the young man alive before the emergency services arrived.

“All the cadets had gone home when trainee paramedic Sergeant Patrick Evans received an alert beacon on the GoodSam App about a cardiac arrest and said he had to go,” said OC Greaves, who has been a member of staff at 1084 Sqn since 2015.

“He realised it was on the nearby football pitch so went to get his kit out of the car and realising that he may need help, and as we are all first aid trained, we went to the football pitch too.”

OC Helen Greaves with Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur OBE BSc (Hons) ACA FRSA
Officer Commanding Helen Greaves from 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron with Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur OBE BSc (Hons) ACA FRSA


Helen and one of her team continued CPR while Patrick took observations and opened the footballer's airway.

The final member of the 1084 team helped with crowd control and guided the emergency services in. CPR ongoing, the team had to use a defibrillator to help bring the footballer back to life just as the first of several paramedics arrived.

“The Emergency services arrived and we handed over,” she said. “There were four separate emergency vehicles, including a specialist Cardiac Arrest Leader, who stabilised the footballer before taking him off to hospital.”

It is understood that the footballer has made a full recovery although he has had to have a pacemaker fitted. He is now coaching three sessions a week at the club and hopes to be able to take on more coaching going forward.

Flight Lieutenant Greaves had been a cadet at 1084 (Market Harborough) Sqn from 2003 to 2010 and left as a Flight Sergeant before returning as staff in 2015 after graduating from Oxford Brookes University.

She said she counts visits to RIAT, Belgium and camps at RAF stations at Kinloss, Stafford and Wittering as highlights of her time in the cadets.

But she says that her training in the Air Cadets was what helped her deal with the emergency with confidence, and she added that some real positives for the wider community have come from having to deal with the situation.

“We didn’t have time to panic and just needed to do what we had to do,” she said.

“The team clicked in and we didn’t need to communicate, we just did it automatically. As a result of what we did that night the football club have stepped up their CPR training, and invested in a number of additional defibrillators to place around the pitches because of the success in this case.”

Helen, Patrick and another member of their team have since received Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates, as has the young club member Tom, presented in a small ceremony by the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur OBE BSc (Hons) ACA FRSA.

The certificates are awarded to people who have undertaken a successful resuscitation of someone, who was at one stage ‘seemingly dead’, through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (MMR) and/or heart-and-lung massage (CPR) and honour bravery in saving human life.

The fourth member of the 1084 Sqn team was awarded a Wing Commander’s Commendation for his actions during the evening.

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