Unable to help his grandmother, Peter’s since put the life-saving skills he’s learnt to very good use

Peter Sanderson with Malcolm Richards, whose life he helped to save following a cardiac arrest in PortchesterPeter Sanderson with Malcolm Richards, whose life he helped to save following a cardiac arrest in Portchester
Peter Sanderson with Malcolm Richards, whose life he helped to save following a cardiac arrest in Portchester
Left helpless when his grandmother suffered a fatal cardiac arrest, Peter Sanderson vowed to ensure he would never be in that situation again.

Receiving a call to say she wasn’t feeling well, Sanderson rushed to Barbara’s Portchester home.

“When I got there, she went into cardiac arrest when she opened the door. I’d had no first aid training, I didn’t know what to do,” he recalled.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Following Barbara’s death, her grandson enrolled himself on a first aid course. “From that day I promised to myself that if I was ever in that situation again, I would have the confidence to perform CPR without hesitation,” Sanderson remarked.

Peter Sanderson visits Malcolm Richards while he was recovering in QA HospitalPeter Sanderson visits Malcolm Richards while he was recovering in QA Hospital
Peter Sanderson visits Malcolm Richards while he was recovering in QA Hospital

No doubt there are many people first aid trained who never have to use their knowledge in the case of an emergency.

But for Sanderson, his first aid skills have helped saved two lives in the past few years!

First, he was enjoying a family day out at Bournemouth in the summer of 2021 when a fellow beach-goer shouted out that there was a young boy unconscious in shallow water.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Running over to help, Sanderson tilted the boy’s head until water came pouring out of his mouth. Lifeguards then appeared to take over the boy’s treatment.

The boy, who couldn’t swim, was down from London and visiting the seaside for the first time.

Then, back in early June this year, Sanderson’s wife Sophie frantically “came rushing into the garden saying to me ‘there is a man collapsed on the floor outside our house, you need to go and help.’

That man was Malcolm Richards, 76, who had suffered a cardiac arrest while out walking in Portchester.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Malcolm had blood all down his face and wasn’t responding to me talking to him,” said Sanderson.

“I rolled him over, checked his breathing and cleared his airwaves - he was not breathing.

“I checked his airway was not blocked and I immediately started CPR.

After Sophie rang for an ambulance, an emergency responder arrived “in about five minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. And all that time I just kept doing CPR until they arrived.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Malcolm responded to the second shock administered by a defibrillator - Sanderson continued chest compressions in between the two shocks - before a full ambulance crew arrived.

Not content with just helping to save Malcolm’s life, Sanderson also ensured his next of kin was contacted.

“I found out where he lived by checking his wallet and he only lived up the road.

“I went to the address and luckily the neighbour was outside and they gave me the step-daughter’s number as Malcolm lived alone.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I texted the step-daughter (Angela Tindall) asking if she was ok and how her dad was, but my text she received was the first she had heard about her step-dad, four hours after he was taken to hospital.

“She rushed to hospital and found he was stable but yet to come around. She came round to my house that evening and gave me a big cuddle and thanked me for saving his life and being there to help him.”

After having a pacemaker fitted, Malcolm was discharged from QA Hospital in July.

When he met up with Malcolm again, Sanderson remarked: “It was a surreal experience for us both.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He thanked me for saving his life and it wasn’t long before we got chatting about football.

“He has been a life-long supporter of Portsmouth FC but hasn’t been to Fratton Park for quite a while. Hopefully I can get him an experience day there this season.”

Once word had spread of Sanderson’s first aid skills, many of his neighbours in Kelvin Grove said they wished they had similar knowledge.

As a result, they are all due to attend a group training session next month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The company where Sanderson works - Wartsila - have also spread the word to their employees based all over the world to get themselves first aid trained.

Sanderson was also asked by managers to record a video talk about his experiences which has been shared with fellow employees.

In it, he said: “My recommendation to anyone is if you can, and it is available to you, go on a first aid course and learn how to perform CPR. It will give you confidence if you find yourself in a similar situation.

“Without immediate treatment, 90 to 95 per cent of cardiac arrest casualties will die.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Only 22 per cent of people here in the UK would be confident of performing CPR on a stranger.

“And fact number three, if a defib is used and effective CPR is performed within five minutes of collapse, the chances of survival increase from six per cent to 74 per cent.

“Being involved in this type of situation can have a big impact on your mental health, and I recommend if you are involved in anything like this, please talk to someone afterwards.

“I’m lucky, I have good work colleagues, friends and family around me that I’m able to talk to.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I’ve recently qualified to be a mental health first aider, which was put on by Wartsila, and it has made me more aware of the importance of speaking to people.

“When my grandmother died, I didn’t really talk about it at the time, I kept my feelings inside, which had a negative effect on my mental health at that time.”