Horsham man meets volunteers who saved his life after half marathon collapse

Dave Hatton's wife Rhoda, Dave, and Julie Beynon, with the team of St John's Ambulance volunteers who helped save Dave's life.
Dave Hatton's wife Rhoda, Dave, and Julie Beynon, with the team of St John's Ambulance volunteers who helped save Dave's life.

A Horsham runner raced back to the start line of a half marathon when he realised he was about to have a heart attack.

Trained first aider Dave Hatton, 55, began feeling ill a short distance into the Steyning Stinger Half Marathon on March 1.

I’d learned what symptoms to watch out for when someone is having a heart attack. It wasn’t long before I realised it was happening to me

Dave Hatton

He made his way back to the start and approached a team from St John’s Ambulance at the first aid centre, where he received immediate treatment as he went into cardiac arrest.

On Thursday May 21, Dave, a keen runner and hill walker, was reunited with the team of volunteers that saved his life.

He said: “The conditions were very wet and muddy, and as I was running across the first field I started to experience chest pains.

“At first I thought it was just the cold air entering my lungs, and I said to my wife I would hold back a moment and catch her up.

“I’d learned what symptoms to watch out for when someone is having a heart attack and it really wasn’t long before I realised it was happening to me.”

Dave, a qualified mountain leader and deputy district commissioner for Horsham Scouts, was taking part in the race with his wife, Rhoda, daughter Emma and her boyfriend Jason.

At the first aid treatment centre, located in the coach park of Steyning Grammar School, he met first aider Julie Beynon.

Julie said: “We started our initial assessment, but within about three minutes his condition deteriorated. He suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.”

He was given two shocks with a defibrillator, and on arrival of paramedics, Dave was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, by which time he was awake and able to speak.

Dave added: “I think I even managed to blow Julie a kiss as they wheeled me out! I am so grateful for everything the team did for me that day.

“Not only for my treatment, but also the way the volunteers helped my wife and gave her all the information and reassurance she needed, during what was a very stressful and emotional experience.”

Within an hour he was on the hospital’s intensive care unit and had a stent fitted, and he had an internal defibrillator fitted days later.

He was discharged from hospital after 12 days and is making a good recovery, walking around five miles a day.

The team of volunteers who treated Dave included Julie Beynon, John Beynon, Mike Kerley, Graham Underhill, Julie Underhill, Chris Holmes, unit manager Cliff Baddock, Unal Salih, Steven Harwood, and Karen Kennedy.

Tom Dimmock, St John Ambulance Area Manager, added: “Well done to all who were involved in this incident, who without doubt saved this gentleman’s life. “I am incredibly proud of all our volunteers who give up countless hours each year to support local communities.”

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