Life-saving lesson for 450 pupils in memory of PE teacher, who collapsed in the school corridor

Hundreds of pupils became potential life-savers as they learned CPR in memory of their former PE teacher.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 20th October 2016, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:32 pm
Community first responder James Handforth with Kelsey Atkinson, Mollie Hammond, Teagan Atherton and Blue Ayres, all aged 11.
Community first responder James Handforth with Kelsey Atkinson, Mollie Hammond, Teagan Atherton and Blue Ayres, all aged 11.

Youngsters at Highfield Leadership Academy in South Shore were taught how to give emergency first aid to people whose hearts have stopped as part of Restart a Heart Day.

The event was particularly poignant because of veteran teacher Dave Pinder’s death in 2013.

The 47-year-old dad-of-one, who taught at the school for over 20 years, was found collapsed in a corridor and died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Ollie Raybould, 12, with Kelsey Bramley and Kai Brannan, both aged 11.

Head of PE at the time Penny Rimmer, who is now assistant principal, fought in vain to save the popular teacher’s life that day, and said: “Dave was both a friend and a colleague. A lot of staff are touched by what happened and really want to make sure they honour his memory for every he did for the kids. You never expect to find yourself in that situation, and to find ourselves in that situation, we wanted to do something.

“As soon as we heard about Restart a Heart Day, we knew it was something we wanted to be involved in. We wanted to educate pupils about what do if they found somebody who had a cardiac arrest, so we contacted them and asked to be involved.”

Sessions lasting around 45 to 50 minutes were held inside the Highfield Road school’s sports hall, with 450 children splits into groups.

All Year Seven pupils took part along with some older children, and were shown a video before getting to grips with a dummy and putting what they’ve learned to good use, under the watchful eye of North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) volunteers.

Community first responder Stan Ralph giving a lesson

Mia Beilby-Duckett, 11, said: “I think it’s important because otherwise we would not be able to save lives or help anyone. Now we have control over what we can do. They have taught us to look out for the signs and what steps to take, and let us try instead of just telling us.” Classmate Alesha Bell, also 11, added: “My favourite part was doing the CPR because it was really fun. I have learned what to do so I can help. The video showed us what can happen and, if I see somebody, what I can do.”

Restart a Heart Day was spearheaded by Resuscitation Council UK, which said it hoped to see more than 100,000 people in the UK learn basic life support skills in one day.

Almost 300 staff and volunteers from NWAS, St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, and others helped with the effort, with 57 schools across the north west taking part.

NWAS said 20,000 secondary school pupils were taught CPR across the region.

Joseph Hargreaves, aged 12.

It said if first aid was put on the national curriculum, 5,000 lives could be saved every year.

Efforts to help Dave, who collapsed shortly after breaktime on May 21, 2013, were unsuccessful because he suffered a pulmonary embolism – a blockage in an artery carrying blood from the heart to the lungs.

Penny backed the call to put first aid of the national curriculum, and any one of the 450 pupils trained could now become a life-saver, if they are every called upon.

Dave Pinder, who died after collapsing at Highfield Leadership Academy in 2013
Ollie Raybould, 12, with Kelsey Bramley and Kai Brannan, both aged 11.
Community first responder Stan Ralph giving a lesson
Joseph Hargreaves, aged 12.
Dave Pinder, who died after collapsing at Highfield Leadership Academy in 2013