A BAND rehearsal at a church hall turned into a life-and-death drama after a 72-year-old bass trombonist suffered a heart attack as he was playing.

Noel Sanders, of Gloucester Drive, Brighton Hill, was performing during a rehearsal by the South Berks Concert Band at Mortimer Methodist Church Hall on September 14 last year, when he suffered the heart attack.

Fortunately former nurse, Barbara Still, of Spencers Wood, and Stella Gibbons, of Hazeley Bottom, who also has medical training, were on the spot and thanks to their swift action managed to bring Mr Sanders back from the brink of death.

Their actions have now been praised by the Royal Humane Society.

The duo realised something was wrong at around 9.30pm when Mr Sanders dropped his trombone. Although he was still sitting upright he was struggling for breath. Ms Still placed him in the recovery position and then began administering Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

At the same time Ms Gibbons gave him the kiss-of-life. They continued with their fight to save him taking instructions from the emergency services phone operator. Then a defibrillator was brought to the scene and they used that on him as well as continuing with CPR.

They managed to restore Mr Sanders’ breathing but only ceased CPR when paramedics arrived and set up their equipment and were able to administer adrenaline and oxygen.

Mr Sanders was conscious within 25 minutes of the attack and was taken to hospital where he went on to make a full recovery.

Now Ms Gibbons and Ms Still have been awarded Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates.

They have also won the personal praise of Mr Sanders, who recommended them for the awards, and from Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

Mr Chapmansaid: “Mr Sanders was lucky to have two people on hand who knew exactly what to do in such a situation. Without doubt they saved his life and they richly deserve the awards they are to receive. They did a brilliant job


Mr Sanders described the moment he suffered the heart attack.

He said he was sitting listening to the bandmaster and added: “My consciousness suddenly switched off. The next thing I experienced was being returned to the world and feeling sick and hurting”