Dad brought ‘back from the dead’ by defibrillator hero days before daughter’s wedding

Andy Trafford, 57, who collapsed on courts at Ashbrooke Sports Club, Sunderland, is backing the Mirror’s defibrillator campaign after gym owner Mark Banks saved his life

A dad brought “back from the dead” after suffering a heart attack playing squash is backing our defibrillator campaign – and so is his lifesaver.

Andy Trafford, 57, collapsed on courts at Ashbrooke Sports Club, Sunderland on September 1, two days before his daughter Emma, 26, was due to get married.

By a stroke of luck, gym owner Mark Banks, 45, was on hand to administer a defibrillator shock.

Retired fireman Andy was rushed to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle after Mark’s lifesaving skills kept him alive.

He had to undergo heart surgery to fit stents and is now back home with wife Jackie, and enjoyed a walk on the beach on Thursday.

He said: “I really feel fortunate. I have done CPR a number of times myself as a fireman but to go on as long as Mark did and have a successful outcome is truly remarkable.

“I would agree totally with getting defibrillators in every building but with a slight caveat – it needs someone who has experience using it.

“I was so lucky that Mark was there and if you have someone like that, it is a massive advantage. The message is that it is vital that people do CPR training.

“Even if you only ever use it once in your lifetime, it’s worth it. I don’t think Andy has ever used it on somebody before and hopefully he will never have to again.”

Mark, owner of The Fitness Bank, told how the experience had changed his life, and backed the Mirror campaign ‘100 percent’.

Dad-of-one Mark, of Sunderland, said: “I have had first aid drilled into me from the age of 18.

“We did hook up the defibrillator on Andy and then it was very like the Eriksen situation in the summer. I could not feel a pulse and gave CPR for 20 minutes. Andy was purple, his head was back, his tongue was curled when I checked his airways, I kept on going with CPR even though I could not get a pulse.”

He added: “To save him is the biggest achievement of my life. It sends shivers down my spine even now. I was not supposed to be in the building. If I had been downstairs or doing work at 11.30am as planned, if Andy had been on any of the other four squash courts, I wouldn’t have seen him.”

Paramedics were also working on Andy for 40 minutes before he went to the Freeman, where his daughter was allowed to visit him on her wedding day.

Andy, a dad-of-four of Sunderland, added: “That was the hardest part, missing the ceremony. But the hospital staff were wonderful and made my daughter feel so special when she came to see me in her wedding dress.

“I realise how lucky I am to be here – I feel amazing.”