Heroine Margaret saves auctioneer

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A WOMAN who helped save the life of a popular local farmer has helped raise £1,500 for the air ambulance service.

Margaret Kirkham, secretary at Brockholes Auction Mart, presented the cheque to Blackpool’s air ambulance crew as a thankyou for their efforts after auctioneer Richard Ayrton was airlifted to hospital.

The 65-year-old farmer from Thurnham had collapsed suffering a severe heart attack during an auction at Brockholes.

But Mr Ayrton said that Mrs Kirkham deserved just as much praise after she administered emergency first aid at the scene until the paramedics arrived.

Mr Ayrton, who is also a director at the cattle mart, said: “I would not be here if it wasn’t for Margaret and the air ambulance.”

Mrs Kirkham, who had recently taken a first aid course, used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation techniques and chest compressions for 20 minutes before the air ambulance arrived.

“All the doctors said she had done a fantastic job. I would have only had three or four minutes if she had not done what she did,” said Mr Ayrton.

A St John’s Ambulance survey last year showed 59 per cent of people would not be confident trying to save someone’s life. “You do a first aid course and do not expect to use it,” said Mrs Kirkham, also the clerk to auctioneers. “But this shows they do have their benefits.”

The air ambulance from Blackpool airport landed at the back of the auction mart in Claughton-on-Brock at around 11am and it took a further hour before the team could carry Mr Ayrton to Royal Preston Hospital, and during the journey he suffered another cardiac arrest.

Paul West, the air ambulance service’s head of clinical operations, said: “This was a serious incident and one that could have had a completely different outcome had it not been for the quick thinking of Richard’s colleague [Margaret Kirkham] and also the combined effort of the land crew and Air Ambulance.”

But Mrs Kirkham, of Bilsborrow, was modest in her own assessment of her actions, saying: “There were a lot of people who worked to save his life in the hospital. I was just the first on the scene.”

As a way of saying thanks, customers at the auction mart raised money for the air ambulance through raffles and donations in the run-up to Christmas. The cheque for £1,500 was handed to Paul West last Tuesday at the Brockholes auction.

“We are extremely grateful to Richard for his donation. The help we receive from our supporters is invaluable and without this we would not be able to keep flying and saving lives,” said Mr West.

Mr Ayrton thought the fundraising was “fantastic” and said he “would like to thank everybody at the Brockholes auction mart.”

The auctioneer spent six weeks recovering in hospital after his heart attack in October and only emerged from a coma after three weeks in intensive care. He has been fitted with a defibrillator which gives him an electric shock if he suffers another heart attack.

“It hasn’t done that yet - and I’m not sure I want it to,” he added.