When news happens send us your pictures, video and views. Text BE to 80360 or contact us by email
My lifesavers: 85-year-old returns to thank RNLI crew who revived him
AN 85-YEAR-OLD who “died” from a heart attack near Bournemouth beach has returned to thank the lifeguards who brought him back to life.
Derek Copas had parked his 1961 Vauxhall Cabriolet at the Classic Cars on the Prom event in Bournemouth in July when he dropped to the ground.
His wife could not find a pulse and said his lips had “turned blue” when RNLI Lifeguards ran to his aid and began emergency care using a defibrillator.
Derek’s wife Sheila said it was “so special” to see them again and the couple from Verwood handed over a £100 donation.
“Derek was dead,” said Sheila, 75.
“His lips had gone blue and when I went around the car his head was bleeding where he’d hit the ground.
“I went to feel his pulse and he had gone but the lifeguards got his heart going. They brought him back to life as he had gone.
“And because they arrived so promptly they saved his brain.”
Derek, who was a Royal Navy aircraft technician in the Second World War, struggles to speak as his voice box was previously removed due to cancer.
He said he has always supported the RNLI .
He added: “I can’t thank the beach lifeguards enough.
“If it was not for them arriving so swiftly I would not be enjoying life now.
“I also wish to thank the NHS paramedics who performed what must have been magic.”
RNLI lifeguard Greg Welch was first on the scene before fellow lifeguards Harry Smith and Ben Hayes arrived and began emergency care with the defibrillator.
Grace Fox at the RNLI control room in Bournemouth spoke to the ambulance service and paramedics arrived to continue treating Derek with the lifeguards before he was taken to hospital.
Ashley Miller, secretary of the Classic Cars on the Prom event, also donated £250 to the RNLI from donations handed over at the exhibitions.
He said: “Derek had just pulled in and parked the car when he had a massive heart attack.”
“If it hadn’t been for Greg, Harry, Ben and Grace, Derek would not be here now – the lifeguards were fantastic in their response and treatment.”
Simon Crayfourd, RNLI Lifeguard Manager for Dorset, said: ‘We’re incredibly proud of the team for the way they responded to this medical emergency and the teamwork they displayed throughout.
“It was absolutely fantastic for them to meet Derek and his wife.
“Seeing him and being able to talk to him and his family was the best thank you the team could get.”