Father who used CPR to save man's life on golf course to golf the length of the country in bid to fund more defibrillators

A keen golfer is hitting a ball along the length of the country in a John O'Groats to Lands End challenge which he hopes will save lives.

David Sullivan, 58, is golfing all the way from John O'Groats to Lands End to raise cash for more defibrillators, and is this week passing through Yorkshire
David Sullivan, 58, is golfing all the way from John O'Groats to Lands End to raise cash for more defibrillators, and is this week passing through Yorkshire

David Sullivan passes through Yorkshire this week on his tour of the country's golf courses as he aims to raise cash for the British Heart Foundation and for more life-saving defibrillators.

The challenge was inspired by an incident when his quick thinking and training in CPR helped him to save the life of a 32-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest on a golf course near his home in Surrey last year.

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Mr Sullivan, 58, set up a not-for-profit organisation supplying more defibrillators to businesses, and said he hoped that the horrific recent incident at the Euros where Danish footballer Christian Erikson collapsed on the pitch will inspire more people to equip themselves with the life-saving tools and the knowledge on how to use them.

David Sullivan, 58, is golfing all the way from John O'Groats to Lands End to raise cash for more defibrillators, and is this week passing through Yorkshire

"If just half of the people watching that match learned how to use a defibrillator after watching what happened, that's 15m people who could potentially save someone's life one day," he said.

"After what happened to Erikson, we are missing the boat. learning how to use a defibrillator is one of the most useful skills you may ever learn."

Speaking from Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Course in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, Mr Sullivan said his golfing challenge had so far been a whirlwind.

The former armed forces member started his journey at the tip of the Scottish Highlands on June 11 and will be walking over 1,000 miles and making an estimated quarter of a million golf shots before reaching his final destination, Land’s End.

David Sullivan, 58, is golfing all the way from John O'Groats to Lands End to raise cash for more defibrillators, and is this week passing through Yorkshire

Mr Sullivan was originally joined by his son Freddie, 21, who later had to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19. Luckily, David tested negative and was able to continue.

He has also faced the obstacle of losing his father and having to travel home to attend his funeral, but has not let that stop the 1,000-mile challenge.

The money raised will help place life-saving defibrillators into villages, towns and cities up and down the country. At every one of David’s stops on his journey, he will be training local people for free on how to save lives using CPR.

"I lost four close friends to cardiac arrest and had to do CPR on a young lad who collapsed on a golf course," he added.

"I should never, ever have had to be there to do that, but for some reason I was. Luckily, he made a full recovery and two weeks after his mum rang me up to thank me and I just burst into tears.

"If there hadn't been a defibrillator at the golf course that day, he would definitely not have survived. I also found out that about 30 people saw what happened that day and stood there unable to help. That really affected me.

"In some countries, people are taught from a young age about what to do if someone goes into cardiac arrest and how to use a defibrillator. In countries like Sweden, they have a 40 per cent survival rate – the UK survival rate for cardiac arrest is seven per cent."

Anyone can donate to Mr Sullivan's JustGiving page for his challenge here, with proceeds going towards the British Heart Foundation and defibrillator-supplying organisation, Creating Lifesavers.

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