A sixth form student from Llandudno has told how he helped save the life of a man who collapsed in a busy shopping centre – even though he had never had a first aid lesson in his life.
Joshua Townend, who hopes to become the UK’s youngest police special constable, was working in his part-time job at a sweet shop in the town’s Victoria Precinct on Sunday afternoon when the man fell ill in a nearby store.
The 19-year-old Ysgol John Bright pupil from Penrhyn Bay who has no previous first aid training was at the Sweet Emporium shop when the incident unfolded.
He said: “A woman came in and said a man had collapsed in the shop opposite and my supervisor, Sue Simpson, told me to go and help.
“They had called the paramedics and I asked the precinct manager about the defibrillator and she told me to get it from the office so I ran upstairs and brought it down and opened it up.
“People were trying to put the gentleman into the recovery position but I told them to leave him flat on the floor.
“I’d never used a defib before but I switched it on and followed the instructions. It explains what to do so I told another bystander where to put the shock pads on the man’s chest and had the paramedic on the phone as relaying instructions.
“The machine was analysing the patient’s heart rate and it told me a shock was advised so I told everyone to stand clear and I shocked him.
“Then the defib instructed us to start CPR – cardio-pulmonary resuscitation – with chest compressions and so a man called Kenny began with me counting the rhythm – Kenny did a great job with a really good rhythm, he was amazing.
“I cleared the clothes rails out of the way for the paramedics and the defib was analysing for another shock as the paramedics arrived and I stayed with the man as they connected their equipment to him.”
By this time there was an ambulance outside and the air ambulance helicopter had landed on the roof of the precinct and the patient was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital by road with one of the paramedics congratulating Joshua for doing a great job.
He has also had a letter of thanks from Marc Fletcher, of Mostyn estates, owners of the Victoria Precinct, who wrote: “I have been told by people who were present that Josh responded in an outstanding manner and greatly assisted in the efforts to save the life of the person involved.
“I’m pleased to say that the person is responding well to treatment and it is hoped they will make a full recovery.
“I want to write to express my gratitude for Josh’s actions which are a credit to your school and worthy of recognition.”
Joshua, who is studying Public Services and Business Studies, has just been accepted as a volunteer Special Constable after taking the interview the previous day and he hopes to join the police with ambitions to become a detective.
He added: “I hadn’t had any previous first aid training or used a defib and I did ask if anyone else had but in situations like this you have to do something so I was pleased the paramedics told me I’d done the right thing.
“I actually went back to finish my shift in the sweet shop before going home.
“My mum and dad, Sasha and Neil Townend, were pretty pleased and proud and I’ve had a great response on social media with messages from lots of my friends.”
Ysgol John Bright Head Teacher Ann Webb said: “We are immensely proud of Joshua for the cool, calm and collected way he responded to what was a real crisis.
“He is a fine young man and as a school we’re very proud of the way he acted in a very stressful situation but I have to say that knowing Joshua I’m not really surprised because he is such an admirable character.”
The school has posted on Facebook: “We are incredibly proud of our Year 13 student Josh Townend who has successfully completed his interview to become one of the youngest trainee Special Constables in North Wales.
“He was working in a shop in the Victoria Centre when a man in the shop opposite stopped breathing.
“He kept his calm whilst accessing and using a defibrillator on a recently retired deep-sea diver.
“The gentleman’s friend was so grateful to Josh he gave him his card and asked him to keep in touch.”
Speaking about the incident over the weekend, a Welsh Ambulance Services spokesperson said: “We were called on Sunday (October 20, 2019) at about 2.30pm to reports of a medical emergency at the Victoria Centre in Llandudno.
“We responded with two emergency ambulances, a clinical team leader and were supported by Wales Air Ambulance, where one person was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital.”