Heroic duo performed CPR and grabbed defibrillator after runner collapsed at Albert parkrun

PC Courtney Wilson and PC Rebecca Hole saved a man’s life during a park run whilst off-duty in Middlesbrough
-Credit: (Image: Cleveland Police)

Two police officers brought a man back to life after he collapsed at a parkrun in Middlesbrough.

PC Courtney Wilson and PC Rebecca Hole had just reached the finish line of Albert parkrun on a Saturday morning in March, when Courtney noticed the man slump to the ground. With barely a moment to catch her breath, she ran straight to the man and began to carry out CPR.

Rebecca and the parkrun director ran to get a defibrillator from the park, then Courtney and an off-duty paramedic performed CPR on the man until he came round. Rebecca then took control of communications with the ambulance service and managed the crowds of people around the man whilst he was receiving treatment.

PC Courtney Wilson said: “I’d literally just passed the finish line when the man fell ill. I just thought to myself, ‘I’m doing this’ and went into autopilot. The first aid training we receive as officers just kicked in and together with the off-duty paramedic we managed to use the defibrillator on the man and get him to come round again before the ambulance arrived.

“People from all walks of life and a wide range of professions take part in the parkrun every Saturday. What happened that day opened up an important conversation on the value of defibrillators and first aid training. Since then, a nurse at Stewart parkrun has dedicated her free time to demonstrating how to use a defibrillator and perform CPR in the event of an emergency, and it is believed that she is to do the same at Albert parkrun.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of learning some first aid skills, you never know when you may need it. Thankfully the man has since made a full recovery, but having people around with first aid skills could make the difference between someone surviving a medical episode. I would encourage everyone to take up some form of training so that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.”

PC Rebecca Hole said: “We literally do everything together, so simply slipped straight into work mode. I’m so glad we were at the park run together that day and were able to help. To have three off duty professionals trained in first aid when this happened was a stroke of luck. I would echo Courtney’s plea for everyone to try to get first aid training if they can.”

The duo, who travel to work together as part of a car share, spend their working day together, then spend time together off duty running park runs, are crewed together on shift as response officers in Hartlepool. They will now receive District Commander’s Commendation Awards from the District Commander of Hartlepool Police Superintendent Martin Hopps.

He said: “The actions of Courtney and Rebecca - their quick thinking and teamwork - were exemplary. Once again this shows how police officers are much more than crime fighters, and how determined they are to keep the public safe both on and off duty.

“I commend Courtney, Rebecca, and everyone else who helped that day for their actions that day, no doubt they are responsible for keeping the man alive, and I am delighted to learn that they have since completed another parkrun.”

Albert Parkrun Director, Andrew Featherstone said: “At parkrun we hope that every Saturday goes smoothly and without incident. However, that day in March saw us deal with our first major incident in 15 years. It was a case of right place, right time, right people.

“When our runner collapsed, there really couldn't have been a better set of people to be around. To collapse in front of two PCs, an off-duty paramedic and the event director trained in first aid, and then have a further paramedic and nurse follow up, was lifesaving.

“The defibrillator being 20 yards away was sheer stroke of luck. From cardiac arrest to CPR was within one minute, and he was defibbed and back conscious within three minutes. Everyone just went into work mode. We have since fundraised for a second defibrillator to cover the other side of the park. The gentleman who collapsed is now back doing parkruns and has formed a strong bond with all those involved that day. We can't thank Courtney, Rebecca and others involved enough for their actions."

For breaking news in your area direct to your inbox every day, go here to sign up to our free newsletter