A BASINGSTOKE grandfather who owes his life to the quick-thinking actions of a paramedic, was reunited with his life saver almost a decade after the traumatic incident.
On August 6, 2005, Graham Clark was at work at Heathrow’s Terminal One when he began to suffer severe pain in his chest and arms.
Seconds later, the father-of-four lost consciousness and stopped breathing.
Fortunately for him Mick Hampson – a member of the Heathrow Cycle Response Unit – was nearby and within moments was at his side with a portable defibrillator.
It took three attempts, but eventually he was able to restart Graham’s heart.
In hospital, it was established that Graham had suffered a cardiac arrest and the grandfather-of-six was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which affects electrical activity in the heart.
After a couple of weeks, Graham, of Sheppard Road, Cranbourne, was able to return to work, and he has been enjoying life to the full ever since.
Graham, who still works at Heathrow, remains enormously grateful to the paramedic, and said: “It’s as if I’ve been given a second chance.
“I was incredibly lucky that Mick happened to be in the area and I was very lucky that my colleagues were able to put the call out – they were fantastic.”
Mick said: “I was definitely in the right place at the right time. The fact that we are based here and I was able to get to him so quickly most probably made the difference between life and death.”
Graham, 62, and Mick have stayed in touch ever since, meeting around once a year for the odd drink or special occasion. The pair were reunited last Wednesday, nine years to the day since their fateful first encounter, at an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the formation of the cycle unit.
They met at Terminal 2 in the airport where they received, on behalf of London Ambulance Service, a brand new cycle responder bike donated by Heathrow Airport Ltd to the unit.
The unique group, made up of 15 paramedics, respond to 999 calls by bike at Heathrow, which is the world’s busiest airport.
It was set up in 2004 as a trial and, 10 years on, is still going strong.
London Ambulance CRU operations officer Tom Lynch MBE, said: “I want to congratulate and thank the dedicated Heathrow Cycle Response Unit team who do a vital job keeping Heathrow staff and its daily 191,000 passengers and visitors safe and well.
“Overall, a total of 42, 000 patients have been treated by the team and over 4,000 cases have been of a serious nature including cardiac related problems.
“This is, to my knowledge, the world’s first full time airport bicycle ambulance unit based at an airport and the only such service in the UK.”
Since 2004, thousands of people with minor complaints through to life-threatening conditions have been cared for. Back in 2004-5, the total number of incidents the cycle paramedics attended was 473, and by 2013-14, it had increased to 5,915.
Mike Evans, health and safety director at Heathrow said: “Heathrow is proud to present this world class team with a new medically equipped bike to help take care of our future visitors.”