Gosport pensioner says he owes life to leisure centre staff after suffering cardiac arrest on static bike

FOR most of us a trip to the gym is one that will end with a red face and a sweaty back, but for one Gosport pensioner it ended with a trip to the hospital.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 8:35 am

Michael Clarke was enjoying a daily gym session at Gosport Leisure Centre when he suffered a cardiac arrest while cycling on the static bike back in April this year.

The active 69-year-old of Ansell Road now wants to thank the staff who saved his life.

The motorbike enthusiast said: ‘It was really strange as I was just cycling and then I was on the floor. The staff brought me round and there was a first responder and even the air ambulance came.

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Michael Clarke with some of the team at Gosport Leisure Centre who helped him, from left duty manager Rob Shaw, contracts manager James Dumper, lifeguard James Baker, assistant manager Lucy May and receptionist Chanice Plews Picture: Sarah Standing (281019-275)

‘I usually go to the gym in the morning but this day I was busy so I went in the afternoon when I am usually in my garage tinkering about with my motorbikes so I am thankful it didn't happen then otherwise no one would have been there and my wife Carol wouldn’t have known anything until later.’

The team at the gym, run by Places Leisure, jumped into action with one calling an ambulance while another gave Michael, who has two sons, CPR and used a defibrillator on him.

Michael, who used to be a service manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: ‘They saved my life because they knew what to do and helped me until the paramedics got there and took me to QA where I stayed for two weeks. The people at the hospital said the staff had done a really good job.

Lifeguard James Baker, who used the defibrillator on Michael Clarke. Picture: Sarah Standing (281019-294)

‘I can’t thank them enough and it just shows how important it is to have defibrillators as you just don’t know when and who is going to need one. The NHS staff also did an amazing job as well.’

The team received an award from Places Leisure this month for their life-saving actions.

A spokeswoman for Gosport Leisure Centre said: ‘Earlier this year the team at Gosport Leisure Centre administered first aid and a defib to one of our customers that became unwell whilst using the gym.

‘Places Leisure have invested in defibrillators across all of our sites knowing that a defibrillator can increase survival rates following a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

‘We were pleased to be able to assist and were delighted to welcome Mr Clarke back again having made a speedy recovery. Colleagues involved were recognised at the annual awards to commend them for their quick actions which helped to save Mr Clarke.’