'I'm so lucky to be alive,': retired teacher thanks Great Dunmow Leisure Centre staff

PUBLISHED: 08:08 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 07 February 2019

Steve Orwin, centre, with 1Life leisure centre staff Emma Lighten and Curtis Holben. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Steve Orwin, centre, with 1Life leisure centre staff Emma Lighten and Curtis Holben. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


A retired teacher has paid tribute to a team at a Great Dunmow sports centre who saved his life when he became seriously ill.

Steve Orwin, from Hatfield Broad Oak, was playing badminton at the Great Dunmow Leisure Centre, in Parsonage Downs, when he suddenly felt nauseous, tightening in his chest and tingling in his arms.

Staff at the centre recognised immediately that the 65-year-old father-of-two from Cannons Lane was likely to go into cardiac arrest and sprung into action when the incident happened on December 4 last year.

A team led by staff member Curtis Holben, and assisted by Emma Ligthen and other centre staff, tried CPR first but, when they realised this was not working, turned to the defibrillator, which they had to use twice to revive Mr Orwin.

An ambulance then arrived and paramedics took over and transported him to Basildon University Hospital cardiology unit, where a stent was immediately inserted.

Mr Orwin, who has three grandchildren, remained in hospital for six days before returning home. He has now had a second stent inserted and his rehabilitation continues.

He said: “A combination of quick thinking, the use of the onsite defibrillator, constant expert supervision and the engagement of emergency services undoubtedly saved my life.

“I am such a lucky man to have had this episode in the care of these people, as they have clearly had excellent training and have the right equipment to hand to deal with such emergencies. But most of all it was the calm and professional efficiency that they all displayed in putting training into practice. For that my family and I will be forever grateful.

“Christmas and the new year would certainly have been very different without their intervention, not just for me but for my whole family and my friends. Such is the enormity of what they did.”

A spokesman for 1life, the company which owns the leisure centre, said: “It was the team’s quick thinking, first aid actions and teamwork that ultimately saved Steve’s life that evening in December. They managed the situation efficiently and gave Steve the best possible care and treatment they could for their level of first aid. The team were ecstatic to be reunited with Steve and were happy to see him looking so well, it was a very emotional moment. As a company we could not be prouder of what our team achieved that evening, they followed exactly what they had been taught in their first aid training and for a young team they dealt with the situation extremely well.”

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