‘If she hadn’t seen him and helped he would probably have died’ - Six-year-old Hollie Heywood hailed as lifesaver after spotting man having heart attack

A kind-hearted little girl helped save a man’s life after he started to suffer the onset of a heart attack.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 8:49 am
Six year old Hollie Heywood helped draw attention to a man having a heart attack outside the Briardene Hotel

Eagle-eyed Hollie Heywood, aged six, spotted the pensioner across the tram tracks in Cleveleys and noticed he seemed to be crying and that passers-by were ignoring him.

The youngster, who was staying with her grandparents Rod and Sandra Heywood, who run The Briardene Hotel, had no idea what was wrong with the man but she wanted to help him.

It turned out the 74-year-old man was terrified he was having a heart attack, as he had suffered two attacks in the past.

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Hollie with dad Giles and mum Lisa

Two members of staff helped him over to the hotel before he collapsed – he actually was about to suffer a heart attack and they had to act quickly.

Jessica Smedley, receptionist at the Briardene, on Kelso Avenue, said: “Hollie saved the man’s life, if she hadn’t seen him and tried to help he would probably have died.

“She noticed that he seemed to be crying so wanted to go over and help.

“How she noticed him I don’t know – the man was right across the road on the other side of the tracks.

“I would never have spotted him but Hollie did.”

Jessica and another member of staff, Heather Beane, went over to the man and decided to take him back to the hotel.

Jessica added: “We tried to walk with him to the hotel but we had just got across when his legs went and his eyes rolled back.“We rang an ambulance and we were told by 999 to get the closest defibrillator, because the man had turned grey and collapsed.

“I stayed on the phone and Heather ran to Cleveleys Health Centre, which is just on the next block.”

When Heather arrived at the health centre to fetch the defibrillator, the staff knew who the man was and sent two nurses back to the Briardene to help.

The nurses were able to use the defibrillator on the man, just in the nick of time.

Jessica said: “Then the ambulance arrived and said that his blood pressure was dangerously low and he was about to go into cardiac arrest.

“They mentioned that if Hollie had not noticed him it could have ended fatally for the man.”

Hollie, who attends Rossall School in Fleetwood and lives on Market Street, Hambleton, said: “I don’t understand why people kept walking past him.

“I could see he was upset and I just wanted to help him.

“When we were in the hotel I stayed with him and so did our little dog, Charlie. We both kept him


Hollie’s mum Lisa Heywood said: “I feel really proud of her, actually.

“She noticed people kept walking past this poor man and she just wanted to help him.

“The last we heard, the man was stable in hospital, thankfully.”

Defibrillator is the key

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation, and it’s an essential part in trying to save the life of someone who’s in cardiac arrest.

You don’t need to be trained to use a defibrillator – anyone can use it.

There are clear instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads.

It then assesses the heart rhythm and will only instruct you to deliver a shock if it’s needed. You cannot deliver a shock accidentally, the defibrillator will only allow you to shock if it is needed.

In a recent survey, three quarters of people said they wouldn’t feel confident enough to act if they saw someone having a cardiac arrest but charities such as the British Heart Foundation are keen to promote CPR training and greater awareness.

Defibrillators are normally located in workplaces, health centres, certain fire stations, railway stations and many other public spaces.