Shropshire Star

Flashback to 2008: A lifesaving friend, success for girls' teams and a day at the zoo

A first aider who collapsed while playing badminton near Bridgnorth had his life saved by his friend of 16 years.

First Responder Russell Bill (left) saved the life of his colleague Kevin Brown after he had a heart attack playing badminton.

One of the first people on the scene after Kevin Brown suffered a heart attack was his good pal Russell Bill.

Mr Bill, a community first responder, was attending a 999 call to the Severn Centre in Highley, near Bridgnorth.

Mr Brown, also a community responder, had stopped breathing and his wife and two friends had already started giving him emergency treatment.

Mr Bill, 33, said that despite the shock of finding his friend in a life-threatening situation, he calmly applied defibrillator pads to restore Mr Brown’s heartbeat.

“I’ve treated cardiac patients before, but it’s a real shock when the patient is your mate,” he said.

“The defibrillator machine delivered the shock and a heart rhythm was restored. The ambulance crew arrived as he was breathing again on his own.”

Mr Brown, 46, was taken to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford where he spent eight days before being transferred to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent.

After returning home, he had resumed some of his first responder duties and told the Star he hoped to be able to start driving again soon and return to work for Bridgnorth Aluminium.

“To bring someone back from the dead is one of the greatest things a community first responder can do,” he said.

“I’m chairman of the Highley Badminton Club and I intend to play badminton again, but I’m in no rush to get back on court.”

Meanwhile, Bridgnorth Endowed School’s all-conquering under-16 girls team were getting some expert coaching ahead of their RAF Schools Cup Final – with a training session at Wolves.

Bridgnorth Endowed School girls football team were coached at Molineux

The enthusiastic girls were due to take on Suffolk-based Kirkley Community High School in the national final at the City of Manchester Stadium.

And their preparations were given a boost by the chance to see Wolves’ first team in training.

The girls visited the club’s training base in Compton where they had the chance to meet some of the Wolves players.

They then headed over to the club’s indoor training dome for some expert tuition before the day was completed with a tour of the Molineux stadium.

Meanwhile, Thomas Telford’s under-15 girls were also through to the national final after a fine 6-1 victory over Dukeries College from Nottingham.

Goals from Nicola Hall (2), Abbie Pope (2), Louise Pritchard and Aofie Kelly were enough to seal Thomas Telford’s final berth.

They were awaiting the outcome of the other semi-final between Cardinal Newman School (Luton) and Winston Churchill School (Woking) to discover their opponents.

School spokesman Iain Sweeney said: “The final score does not indicate the closeness of the game. Thomas Telford took the chances that came their way and resolute defending denied the Dukeries.”

And it was a dream come true for Dudley Zoo’s longest serving volunteer Maggie West when she got to be a keeper for a day.

Maggie West, takes part in a surprise Keeper for a Day experience organised by fellow volunteers and staff members at Dudley Zoo

Her colleagues organised the surprise experience to thank her for her work.

She shadowed keepers caring for highly endangered tapirs, red pandas and Patagonian sealions before spending time with kune-kune pigs, reindeer and red squirrels.

Maggie, of Sedgley had been helping out at the site’s Discovery Centre since 2004.

The zoo’s chief executive, Peter Suddock, said: “Maggie is a much-valued volunteer who really loves animals and it was a touching gesture by her fellow volunteers and staff members.”

Maggie said: “I really enjoy coming in to the zoo every week and helping the team with their work.

“I’ve done voluntary work at several places before, and the zoo education team have made me feel very welcome and part of the family.”

Turning back the clock were knights in shining armour bringing medieval merriment to Dudley Castle in aid of charity.

The evening event in the castle courtyard took place to raise funds for Diabetes UK. Among the attractions was a medieval market complete with hog roast plus a ghost tour of the castle grounds.

There was also a range of medieval shows and games for all the family alongside workshops and demonstrations, including bread and beer making.

Dudley Zoo chief executive, Peter Suddock, said: “It’s good to be a partner with a national charity and help raise the profile of a very worthwhile cause.”