Volunteer from Northampton saved life of woman choking on peas while on holiday

Chris Head of St John Ambulance saved a woman's life while on holiday
Chris Head of St John Ambulance saved a woman's life while on holiday

A trained first aider who helped save a lady from choking whilst on holiday is calling for more people to learn his skills.

Chris Head from Northampton was having dinner with his wife and friends at their hotel restaurant near Lowestoft when a lady at one of the neighbouring tables started choking.

Chris immediately dashed across, and when she said she couldn’t cough up the obstruction, he quickly delivered several back blows.

Fortunately, his intervention worked and the obstruction – some peas – came out and the lady was able to breathe again.

Chris, aged 59, said: “The lady was clearly in distress and when I got to her she was starting to turn quite blue.

“After three back blows the peas came out. It was such a relief for her, and for me.

“Straight away her colour came back to normal and she was able to breathe again.

“She soon recovered. She told me that she thought she was going to die, and she said she will never forget what I did for her.”

Chris has been a St John Ambulance volunteer for almost 50 years and is a member of Earls Barton Unit.

As well as regularly providing first aid at public events, he also helps pass on skills to others by training other adult and cadet members.

He also supports Save a Life September events across Northamptonshire and hopes to be involved at demonstrations again as part of this year’s campaign.

In his working life Chris works for the local NHS Trust and regularly provides resuscitation training for staff there.

He said that anyone with some proper training would naturally be able to do the same.

Chris said: “My first aid training instinctively kicked in and I just did what I was trained to do; it was second nature.

“It was an eventful end to the holiday but I was pleased and proud to have been thedifference between life and death for that lady on that day.”

“First aid is a vital skill for everyone to have and you never know when you might need it – at home, at work, at school, even on holiday.”