Heart attack fails to keep Southwater councillor down

Ian Howard, Claire Vickers and John Chidlow at the 2011 local elections. photo by derek martin
Ian Howard, Claire Vickers and John Chidlow at the 2011 local elections. photo by derek martin

A Southwater councillor, who suffered a heart attack a fortnight ago, was at home reading agendas when a colleague visited this week.

Conservative Horsham District councillor Ian Howard received vital first aid from the Crawley mayor Keith Blake after he collapsed at a meeting of the Gatwick Green Spaces Partnership on Friday October 26.

At last night’s HDC development management committee meeting fellow ward member Claire Vickers said: “He’s making excellent progress. It’s hard to keep him down. When I visited him he was reading tonight’s agenda and I have comments from him on tonight’s applications.”

When he collapsed last month Mr Blake (Con, Gossops Green), also a first responder, came to his rescue with community project officer Tom Forward. They administered CPR while head of community wildlife Peter Crawford alerted emergency services.

Mr Blake said: “Ian got up and went out of the room and we thought he was going for fresh air. He came back and sat down and a moment or so later he fell on the floor. I quickly decided it was a heart attack.

“Tom did his chest and I did his breathing while Peter phoned for an ambulance. We carried on with that until they arrived. Together we worked on it and it came good.”

He admitted he was ‘very relieved’ when Mr Howard opened his eyes after being resuscitated by a paramedic.

He added: “I’ve been a trained first-aider for the past 30 years and I’ve only ever had to bandage a finger. When you’re trained you always know there’s the possibility of people having an accident. But you don’t think about it at the time, you just get on with it.”

Horsham District Council confirmed this week that council leader Ray Dawe has temporarily taken over Mr Howard’s responsibilities as cabinet member for living and working communities while he recovers.