'People were just walking past as he turned blue'

Simon Mitchell
Simon Mitchell
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A man who brought a stranger back from the dead in Blackpool town centre claims others rushed past the stricken man’s lifeless body.

Simon Mitchell sprang into action after finding the man collapsed outside McDonald’s in Bank Hey Street, using CPR to revive him.

The 45-year-old said: “He was blue and his eyes were fixed. He would have died because people were ignoring him.

“Someone would have eventually rang an ambulance and police but he would not have made it.

“That’s what makes me angry – that could have been my dad. People were walking around him – one guy stepped over his feet.”

The man, who had rucksacks with him, is understood to be in his 40s. He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but his condition is unknown.

Simon, who lives just off Charnley Road, said he now wants more people to learn life-saving skill CPR – and not to judge their fellow man.

He said: “People just assumed he was passed out drunk. People shouldn’t assume because somebody looks the way they do they are drunk or full of drugs.

“It was absolutely horrible to see. Just don’t judge people.”

Dad-of-two Simon said he had been shopping at nearby Heron Foods at around 6.20pm last Tuesday when he saw the man lying on the ground with two rucksacks beside him.

“One guy was stood there and I asked if he had called an ambulance and he said no,” he said.

“I said, ‘Has anybody looked or spoke to him?’ He said no.”

Simon said he put the man into the recovery position, noticing his face was blue as he turned him into the light coming from McDonald’s.

Realising the stranger had no pulse, Simon asked the passer-by to dial 999 as he started CPR – which he said he learned on a St John Ambulance course in 1998.

Two workers from the fast food diner went to the Tower to fetch a defibrillator as Simon started chest compressions and gave the kiss of life.

The ambulance service was called at 6.33pm, with a rapid response car and ambulance sent out, a spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said.

The first paramedics arrived six minutes later at 6.39pm, she added.

“While they were setting up the defibrillator he [the paramedic] asked me to continue compressions,” Simon said.

“Once they set that up and started it, he started to get a weak pulse. The paramedic still asked me to continue until his pulse had got a little bit stronger.

“I have him breaths as well – I breathed into his chest and he did manage to take a breath.

“It was just really hard work but he came back and he was alive.”

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “The incident occurred rapidly and Simon was quick to spring into action, starting CPR.

“Once we became aware of the situation, we retrieved the closest defibrillator located at the Tower and provided support to Simon whilst he continued with CPR.

“We wish the patient the very best in his recovery which would not have been possible without the quick actions of Simon.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “Clearly what Simon did was highly praiseworthy. Obviously he did the right thing.”

But he said people should learn not to ‘walk by on the other side of the road’, and added: “We should ask what the right thing to do is.”

Mr Mitchell said he has turned his life around after being given a suspended jail sentence when he admitted two counts of theft in 2015.

“People do things in their life they regret,” he said. “But they do manage to re-build.

“I paid the price and rebuilt my life. It’s part of my life I have put behind me.”

Simon said he called the hospital after the man was taken there, to be told he was recovering, but does not know his identity.

n Are you the man he helped, or do you know him? Call our newsdesk on 01253361733.