Lifesaver to the rescue before scary skydive

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Fresh from saving a woman’s life after she suffered a cardiac arrest, there was no time to rest for Ben Hawkins as he took the plunge from more than 13,000 feet to raise money for a much needed piece of medical equipment.

The 19-year-old community first responder from Folksworth took part in a skydive at Sibson Airfield to fundraise for a new defibrillator which he will use when he attends medical emergencies alongside the region’s ambulance service.

And just to prove how crucial that piece of equipment is, in the days leading up to the skydive Ben resuscitated a woman in Folksworth who went into cardiac arrest, using a defibrillator which was due to reach the end of its life a few days later.

Ben said: “My partner Tony and I attended to a lady who went into cardiac arrest. We were on the scene at 12.17am, starting resuscitation.

“At 12.23am we had her breathing again before the ambulance even arrived. To me that is success and that is why we volunteer for the East Of England Ambulance Service.

“We were on the scene in three to four minutes which increased her chances of survival by 75 per cent.”

Days after helping to save the woman’s life, the defibrillator Ben used had to be discarded, but thanks to his skydive he raised nearly double the £2,000 he needed to replace it.

Ben, who is part of the Folksworth and Stilton Responders, who volunteer to attend emergency incidents, said the Peterborough Telegraph’s appeal for donations had been crucial in fundraising for the new defibrillator.

He said: “Without the PT’s support we would not have been able to do it.”

Ben was able to show off the new defibrillator to Stilton Brownies who raised £95 towards the overall total, while further donations included £250 from Peterborough Lions and £1,500 from Perkins Engines.

Ben said: “The support we have received has blown me away! I can’t thank everyone enough.”

The skydive itself was far from straightforward for Ben, who admitted he found the experience tough going.

He added: “It was horrendous. I did not like it at all, and I won’t be doing it again any time soon.

“The wind was in my face and I could not breathe - I was panicking.

“The release came when the parachute deployed, but it was not great because it was raining in my face.

“Luckily, my friends, family and East of England Ambulance Service team were there clapping and saying well done.

“Apparently I did a really good landing.”