King's Birthday Honours: Scarborough paramedic honoured for CPR campaign reaching countless children

Paramedic Jason Carlyon started the Restart a Heart campaign launching CPR lessons in schools which have since reached a quarter-of-a-million children.

Now the father-of-three, from Scarborough, is made an MBE for services to CPR, teaching young people how to help and how their actions might save lives.It's a strange feeling, he said, as the Cabinet Office letter lands through the letterbox.

Even stranger still, to keep it a secret from all but his wife Claire until the honours are announced.

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"It's not really sunk in," he said. "Until the announcement is finally made, maybe even until I'm at Windsor or Buckingham Palace, I don't think it will.

Jason Carylon is recognised for starting the Restart a Heart campaign which has helped teach thousands of children CPRJason Carylon is recognised for starting the Restart a Heart campaign which has helped teach thousands of children CPR
Jason Carylon is recognised for starting the Restart a Heart campaign which has helped teach thousands of children CPR

"I'm very proud, overwhelmed really," he added. "It represents the work of more than one individual - it's a culmination of a lot of people's work that has led to this."

Restart a Heart was launched back in 2014, with a £500 donation received by the Yorkshire Ambulance Services (YAS) from a cardiac arrest survivor.

Mr Carlyon, knowing that October 16 was an awareness day, came up with a plan to help teach young people CPR across the region all on that day, with some 200 volunteers.

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That first year they visited 50 schools, reaching 11,500 students. Last year, it had risen to 172 schools, reaching 140,000 students and a quarter of a million since the campaign began. There are now 900 volunteers, with schemes as far afield as Australia and Sri Lanka.

Mr Carlyon, community engagement manager, first served as a paramedic in Lancashire before joining the YAS in 2003.

"It's a massive thing, to raise awareness," he said. "I never imagined it would be as big as it is. That first year we weren't sure it would work, we just said we would give it a go."

"The award is lovely, but it recognises all 900 people who give up their day each year to teach schoolchildren," added Mr Carlyon, as he reflected on the King's recognition.

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"It is important that people are thanked and recognised for good work they've done. To receive that recognition, and from the head of state, well you can't get a greater honour.

"It will be nice to be able to talk about it!," he added. "It's been so hard keeping it a secret."

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