Stone fitness instructor saves a life

Cllr Mike Smith and Fitness Instructor Lee Nicklin with a defibrillator at Westbridge Park
Cllr Mike Smith and Fitness Instructor Lee Nicklin with a defibrillator at Westbridge Park

A quick thinking fitness instructor has spoken today of how he saved the life of Russell Follows, a 55 year old Stone man who collapsed on February 19th. Russell Follows suffered a cardiac arrest in the changing rooms of Westbridge Park Fitness Centre. But local instructor, Lee Nicklin, used CPR and an on-site defibrillator to keep the man alive until an ambulance took him to the University of North Staffs hospital. The hospital and family say the actions of Lee had almost certainly saved Mr Follows’ life.

Speaking about the incident Mr Follows, 55, said: “Thanks to Lee I’m still here and in the world. I’m coming to terms with what’s happened. I can’t remember anything from that night, not even driving to the gym, or using the gym. He acted immediately and did enough that evening to save my life and I can only say a million thank yous. And even that’s not enough. He is a genuinely nice guy, and got very emotional when I went in and thanked him last month.”

Speaking about the incident, Lee, who has worked at Westbridge Park for 3 years, said: “It was all part of the job. We are trained to use the defibrillators and knowing that it saved this man’s life demonstrates how important the machine and our regular training is.”

Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Well done to Lee. He deserves all the praise he has been given. It is so important we have our staff trained to cope in this type of situation and Lee is a great example of how you have to keep a cool head in what must have been a worrying experience for all concerned.”

Mr Follows left hospital on Saturday 2 March after under going surgery where he was fitted with a mini defibrillator, following the cardiac arrest last month: “Having the defibrillator fitted was a big decision to make, but really it’s a no brainer it’s like a comfort blanket in case anything happens again. Plus it’s also peace of mind for my family.”

The borough council provides defibrillators at a number of its premises including all leisure centres, the Civic Centre, Gatehouse Theatre and the crematorium on Tixall Road, Stafford with around 70 members of staff trained to use them.