A HEART attack victim who was brought back from the brink of death by RNLI volunteers has shared his story of survival to drum up support for The Yorkshire Post’s Christmas appeal.
Graham Warriner and his wife Alyson, from York, became champions of the charity’s work two years ago, after Mr Warriner suffered a heart attack just weeks before his 60th birthday on a summer’s day out to Bridlington.
The fit and healthy had complained of feeling ill before collapsing on a bench on the promenade, prompting Mrs Warriner to cry for help.
A passer-by dialled 999 but precious seconds were slipping away, with Mr Warriner struggling to breathe, as an ambulance raced to the scene.
But it was lifeguards from East Yorkshire’s RNLI manning the beaches nearby who came to the rescue.
They used a defibrillator to re-start his heart, a move medics credited with saving Mr Warriner’s life.
“I am a nurse but I was just panic-stricken, his heart had stopped beating,” said Mrs Warriner, who lives in York.
“I thought we’d lost him. I was thinking ‘that is it, he’s died’.
“Someone must have ran for the lifeguard, I didn’t even know they were there, and he radioed to bring the defibrillator.
“It felt like it was all going on forever but it must have been seconds.”
It was senior lifeguard Andrew McNulty who was first to arrive at the scene began helping Graham to breathe.
Fellow volunteer Ben Holland then started chest compressions and used the life-saving equipment, with the help of another lifeguard, Aaron Miles.
Mr Warriner, now 62, went on to make a full recovery. He and his family welcomed the East Yorkshire RNLI volunteers to their home to thank them in person following his release from hospital.
He said: “I still don’t remember that day, but if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here now.
“It means so much to my family that I have been able to continue with my life and that I was still around to enjoy my 60th birthday.”
His family are now keen supporters of the charity and are keen to highlight what an important role it plays in ensuring everyone can enjoy Yorkshire’s coastline safe in the knowledge that help is at hand in all sorts of emergencies.
They have welcomed The Yorkshire Post’s Christmas appeal, which is raising money towards £200,000 bespoke launch and recovery vehicle, called a Supacat.
The vehicle is needed to ensure Scarborough RNLI’s new lifeboat can operate on the high seas from 2016.
“I don’t think people realise just how much our RNLI crews do, I didn’t even know they had lifeguards until that day,” said Mrs Warriner.
“It just goes to show that you never know when you might need them - and when you’ll be glad they are there.”
From this Saturday, readers will be able to bid on a series of ‘money-can’t-buy’ lots via an online auction to support this very worthy cause.
All of the proceeds from the auction will go straight into the Supacat funding pot.
Some of the offerings in week one are a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the top of the famous Emley Moor tower in Kirklees for four people and a magical tour behind the scenes at Harrogate Theatre’s family pantomime Cinderella, along with 10 front row seats for the performance.