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Teacher Deborah Hurdle whose son George’s life was saved by CPR teaches procedure to pupils at Ballard School

CHILDREN at Ballard school have been taught how to perform CPR with the help of a teacher whose son’s life was saved by the procedure last year.

Deborah Hurdle’s teenage son George collapsed with an undiagnosed heart condition following a night out with friends in Leeds.

His cousin Patrick Murphy and friend Josh Peppiatt leapt into action after George, who was 18 at the time and from Barton, collapsed on a sofa.

George with friend Josh in hospital after he collapsed with an undiagnosed heart condition
George with friend Josh in hospital after he collapsed with an undiagnosed heart condition

They gave him CPR for 30 minutes until paramedics arrived and rushed him to hospital.

George, now 19 and studying at university in Loughborough, was put into an induced coma and spent four days in intensive care. He has since been fitted with a defibrillator.

The student recovered well and even ran the Leeds half-marathon in May to raise nearly £5,000 for Leeds Hospitals Charity.

George with cousin Paddy
George with cousin Paddy

Mum Deborah, an English teacher, says that since her son’s terrifying brush with death she and George want to “raise awareness of just how lifesaving CPR can be”.

She said: “There is only a one in ten chance of people surviving a heart attack outside a hospital because not enough people know how to do CPR.

George running the half marathon with his sister Hannah
George running the half marathon with his sister Hannah

“If Paddy and Josh had not known what to do that night George would have died. They were brilliant. CPR is easy to learn but it is so vital to know.

“My aim, through telling the pupils George’s story, was to teach them heart attacks don’t just happen to old people. Cardiac arrest can happen to young people too.”

Pupils at Ballard school learnt CPR
Pupils at Ballard school learnt CPR

Over the course of a week, pupils in years 6 to 11 were taught about the heart and what people can do to keep it healthy, like eating the right foods.

They were also given lessons in how to perform CPR using special anatomical dummies.

Deborah said: “The children were fantastic. They were really interested in everything and enjoyed learning CPR while also realising how important it is.

“They recognised it was more than just a lesson and that there was a story around it.

“They wanted to know how George is and how he is recovering.”

George running the half marathon
George running the half marathon

The pupils also learnt how to use a defibrillator, with Deborah explaining how you can find one and what to do with it.

She said: “The important message to get across was to ‘just give it a go.’ I think people get scared in this type of situation, especially with a defibrillator, and think they might electrocute someone.

“But they won’t and by doing CPR, or using a defibrillator, in that situation they can’t do any more harm; but they could save that person.”

Deborah was helped during ‘heart week’ by school nurse Jacqui Besley, and workshops in CPR were also held for staff and parents.

She says George is “just getting on with life”, adding: “He is very philosophical about what happened; and of course he owes a huge debt to Paddy and Josh.

“My daughter Isabel is a jeweller, and she made the boys a ring each which has their initials engraved on the inside and they all wear them all the time.”

Deborah says she would like to see every school hold CPR workshops for pupils, and urges people to visit the British Heart Foundation website to learn how they can perform the technique. See www.bhf.org.uk

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