'Guardian angel' praised after life-saving act in Stroud
A Brandon Trust support worker, described as a 'guardian angel', has earned special recognition after performing life-saving first aid in the street whilst on duty in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Lesley Bishop, 57, courageously carried out CPR for 20 minutes on Alun Probert, a man with mild learning disabilities she supports, after he suffered a heart attack and suddenly collapsed near his Bisley Road home on 7 September.
The police, paramedics and air ambulance services which arrived on the scene later said she undoubtedly saved Alun’s life through her quick-thinking actions.
Mum-of-four and grandmother Lesley, who lives in Quedgeley but was born and grew up in Wotton-under-Edge where her children and family still live, said: "Alun seemed perfectly normal in the morning and said he was going to the café. I said wait and I’ll walk down with you. He was sat on the wall chatting, laughing and joking, but then he just stopped and keeled over. I supported him to the ground, but saw his face and knew it was a heart attack."
Her only first aid experience came from a one-day work training course, but Lesley added: "A man called for an ambulance and I told them he wasn’t breathing so I began chest compressions.
"It seemed ages before I heard sirens coming and it was traumatic. I never thought something like this would ever happen to me, but I was on automatic pilot and remember saying ‘don’t you die on me Alun’. The paramedics took over and I was shattered. I remember someone from the ambulance then saying 'it’s okay we’ve got him' and 'well done, you probably saved this man’s life'."
Lesley, who has worked as a Brandon support worker for just a year, visited Alun in hospital and was also with him in theatre for heart surgery. She still supports Alun now and added: "My biggest reward was when I picked him up and brought him home from hospital."
After spending time in intensive care, Alun, 64, is now making a good recovery back at home and visiting his favourite café again. He calls Lesley his 'guardian angel' and said: "I felt a bit weird, like I’d been hit on the head. It was lucky she was with me."
In a thank you letter, Alun wrote: "I don’t remember much about what happened that day. I remember Lesley saying she would walk into town with me as she was going anyway, if she hadn’t I wouldn’t be here today. People told me what happened and how Lesley saved my life. I would like to thank her very much and I think she deserves a medal."
Lesley received a standing ovation when details of what happened and Alan’s subsequent thank you letter were heard at Brandon Trust’s recent staff awards event in Bristol. She was presented with a special award and gift by Brandon Trust CEO Lucy Hurst-Brown, who said: "She did something incredibly special and I’m so proud a member of staff responded in that way during what was a traumatic event. It also says a lot about her, that she was back in work the next day."