Live-saving doll named after Horwich heart attack pensioner

From left, ex-police officer Garry Lee, Tracey Wilkinson from Bolton ICD and Vin Karsondas

Derek Smith

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , crime reporter

A PENSIONER whose life was saved when he suffered a heart attack at a football match will help others to learn life saving techniques — after a CPR doll was named after him.

Derek Smith, then aged 79, went into cardiac arrest after leaving the Reebok Stadium following a Bolton Wanderers’ clash with his Blackpool, who he was supporting, in May last year.

He was saved by PC Garry Lee, who has since retired, and off-duty Royal Bolton Hospital nurse, Tracey Garde.

Bolton Arena duty manager Lesley Hough arrived at the scene with a portable defibrillator after being told about the emergency.

The pensioner, from Blackpool, made a full recovery.

Mr Lee, aged 52, from Horwich, wanted to do something to support Bolton ICD Support Group, and offered to buy the charity a CPR dummy when he heard the charity had appealed for someone to help fundraise to cover the costs of a new one.

Mr Lee said: “I saw on Facebook they needed a CPR manikin and thought ‘that’s what I will do’. I thought as a bit of a laugh I would name him Derek after Derek Smith.

“I spoke to his daughter and she said he would love it and would be laughing when he heard. If I hadn’t had the CPR training by using a manikin I don’t know what I would have done.”

Vin Karsondas, a telecommunications consultant, aged 44, from Lostock, and his family saw Bolton ICD’s appeal on Facebook and also offered to buy one of the CPR dummies on behalf of his family, including his teaching assistant wife Sheila and their two daughters, aged 16 and 10.

Mr Karsondas said: “My father Dayabhai Karsondas had heart disease and died in 2006. My family wanted to help Bolton ICD in his memory.

"We thought calling the manikin Vin would be easier for people to remember than my father’s name.”

Tracey Wilkinson, fund-raising manager for Bolton ICD Support Group, ordered the manikins, which cost about £200 each.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “The manikins will help massively. The one Bolton ICD Support Group had was actually from a car boot sale about two years ago and it was coming to the point where I thought we needed a new one.

“Having two manikins will be really appreciated as people shadow each other as they are taught. The charity trains hundreds of people to do CPR each year.”

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