Man’s life saved day after heart machine is installed at Ilkley's Clarke Foley Centre (From Wharfedale Observer)
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Off-duty firefighter is hailed a hero
It was a life-saving gift operators of a community centre hoped they would never need to use.
But an Ilkley pensioner has praised an off-duty fireman for his quick-thinking by treating her husband with a defibrillator ... just one day after it was presented to the centre.
The firefighter, who was a guest at the same wedding reception, was called into action after Derek Rowson collapsed while dancing with his wife, Julie, at the Clarke Foley Centre in Cunliffe Road.
He came to Mr Rowson’s aid by using the defibrillator – a £1,000 gift from Ilkley Round Table presented the day before – reviving the pensioner before he was taken by ambulance to Airedale Hospital in Steeton.
A defibrillator is a machine that gives the heart an electric shock, and can be used in some cases of cardiac arrest.
Mr Rowson was taken to hospital for overnight observations, where his condition was diagnosed as an irregular heartbeat. He is now recovering at home in Ilkley.
Mrs Rowson said it was a “great relief” the machine and a trained user were on hand to save her husband’s life.
She added: “The fireman was wonderful – he was the first one who took charge and decided the defibrillator was required.
“He got the machine and brought him round.”
Mr Rowson, who is in his 70s, is a volunteer at the Clarke Foley Centre, which runs events for the over-50s. He works as a cook at the centre’s popular lunch-eon club.
The wedding reception was taking place for one of the centre’s directors.
Centre manager, Judith Ellis, said: “In spite of it being so traumatic and absolutely awful for Julie and Derek, it was very reassuring for all of us – it proved the worth of having the machine here.
“We’re very grateful to the Round Table for providing it for us, and to Addingham Heartstart for providing training.”
Judith also praised the ambulance crew, who arrived quickly to transfer Mr Rowson to hospital.
Ilkley Round Table vice-chairman, Richard Brad-ley, said he was “delighted” to hear the club’s donation had already made a life-saving difference.
Research by the British Heart Foundation shows that for every minute that passes without using a defibrillator on a patient, the chance of them survi-ving falls by 14 per cent.
A controlled shock within five minutes of someone collapsing provides the best chance of keeping someone alive, according to the research.