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Monday, 15 September 2014

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Praise for Cumbrian coach driver who saved woman's life

A coach driver has been hailed a hero for the second time after saving a passenger’s life.

Phil Forster had to revive a woman after she suffered an epileptic fit on his bus and stopped breathing.

The qualified first aider, from Corby Hill, near Carlisle, pulled over and started CPR on 19-year-old Nicolle Marshall as she turned blue.

As the 48-year-old did that, his bus driver wife May, also on-board as his co-driver, took the wheel and steered the coach to meet an ambulance.

Phil’s quick response has been credited with saving laundry worker Nicolle’s life.

Remarkably, it is the second time that the driver for Wigton-based Reays, who is also an emergency transport attendant for St John Ambulance, has saved a life. Just five months ago, he saved 18-month-old Carlisle girl Jessica Howard, who stopped breathing after choking on a grape in the cafe of Asda’s Kingstown supermarket. Her grateful mum, Katie, said: “God provided Phil at the right time.”

And he was once again there when needed while driving Dumfries-based ice hockey team the Solway Sharks and some fans along the A66 near Scotch Corner to a fixture in Sheffield.

Phil, who has been driving coaches for 12 years and a member of St John Ambulance for about five, told The Cumberland News: “I was driving and May was in the cruiser seat.

“One of Nicolle’s friends was wandering up and down on her phone and was crying. May asked what the matter was. She said her friend had stopped breathing.

“I pulled into the side of the road. I went down the bus. She had turned blue and stopped breathing. Her friend said she’d had an epileptic fit.

“I tilted her head back and, after a couple of chest compressions, she coughed and started breathing again. It was then a case of keeping her head tilted back so she had a clear airway.

“One of the others from the team had phoned from an ambulance. I said to May that it would be quicker for us to go to Scotch Corner, because we were just eight miles away, than an ambulance coming down. May set off driving and I stayed with Nicolle, keeping her calm. We were at Scotch Corner before the ambulance.”

Paramedics decided to take ice hockey fan Nicolle to Northallerton Hospital.

Now fully recovered, she met Phil and May again for the first time on Saturday – when she travelled away with the Solway Sharks to watch their victory over Bradford Bulls.

The hero driver was behind the wheel and she met him for the first time since suffering her fit.

She thanked them for all they did.

Recalling her ordeal last month, Nicolle, of Nithside, Dumfries, said: “I’m not really sure what happened. People have told me, but I can’t remember anything about the coach trip.”

Solway Sharks chiefs are so grateful for the actions of Phil and May that they have written to his bosses at Reays, commending all they did.

Secretary David Morrison, who was sitting just two seats down from Nicolle on the coach, said: “Phil’s fast actions were quite amazing. What he did on the day was incredible.

“I have nothing but the greatest admiration for what he did, and for May as well. The two of them were superb.

“I have no doubt that Phil saved the girl’s life.”

Phil says he was pleased to again be in the right place at the right time and believes his experiences have highlighted the need for as many people as possible to learn first aid skills.

On his own actions, he added: “It’s all down to the training I have had from St John Ambulance.”

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