Man who collapsed on Arun Sports Arena pitch is saved by his team members

One of the indoor pitches at the Arun Sports Arena in Ford
One of the indoor pitches at the Arun Sports Arena in Ford

Nine members of a walking football team in Arun have been recognised with awards for saving the lives of one of their members when he suffered a heart attack on the pitch.

John Lippitt, 74, from Middleton on Sea, had only been playing with the Arun Area Allstars for two weeks when he collapsed at the Arun Sports Arena in Ford on May 8.

His fellow team members rushed to his aid and found that he was no longer breathing.

Four of them began administering cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while others fetched a defibrillator and called the emergency services.

When the defibrillator reached the scene Mr Lippitt was shocked with it and began breathing again.

However, the grueling CPR procedure was continued for another 15 minutes until an ambulance arrived and Mr Lippitt was taken to hospital.

The retired police officer has gone on to make a full recovery and has recently enjoyed trips to New York and Edinburgh.

He put his team members forward to receive awards in recognition of their heroic actions.

Mr Lippitt said: “I am totally in awe of what they did. They saved my life.”

He added that it was lucky that team members had been trained in CPR and that a defibrillator was in place at the sports centre.

Six of his life-savers are due to receive Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates.

They are Ken Seymour of Rustington, Chris Heatley of Littlehampton, Norman Burles of Middleton on Sea, Phil Hall of Felpham, Eric Geddes of Summerley and John Saunders of Chichester.

Four others have bene awarded Certificates of Commendation by the Society.

They are Peter Matthews of Worthing, Phil Hall of Felpham, Steve Rolfe of Yapton and Gary Purser of Middleton on Sea.

Andrew Chapman, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, praised their efforts.

He said: “The team had all been trained in CPR techniques and this is another of many cases which brings home the value of as many people as possible learning how to administer CPR.

"I suspect that most people who learn it hope they will never be called on to use the skill.

“But as this incident shows it can, as it was here, make the difference between life and death.”

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