Duo praised for stepping in to help save heart attack victim at Haverhill football derby

The East Anglian Air Ambulance takes off from The New Croft and heads for Norwich.
The East Anglian Air Ambulance takes off from The New Croft and heads for Norwich.

The ‘calmness and control’ shown by a duo who helped save the life of a heart attack victim at last Friday’s football match between Haverhill Borough and Haverhill Rovers has been praised.

The teams were being called into the tunnel when one of the spectators, a man aged about 60, collapsed close to the players entrance on to the New Croft 3G pitch.

One of the Borough substitutes, Tommy Hardwick, who is a retained firefighter, was by chance still out on the pitch as he was not one of the starting XI.

Seeing the distressed spectator, he quickly went to his aid and began applying CPR.

Tommy, 22, was soon joined by Rovers’ welfare officer, Lisa Shulver, a nurse who was volunteering at that moment in the refreshments hut.

Lisa’s husband, Ali, was on duty as the Rovers first aid/physio and having been alerted to the emergency rushed out from the changing room to find his wife and Tommy helping the stricken man.

Former Rovers chairman Ali, described what happened next: “They had everything under control.

“They had him in a recovery position and they were trying to talk to him and find out his name.

“They were trying to talk to him but he was very unresponsive so I just went over to him to see if he needed anything and at that point Lisa said she was worried about his breathing and said to me can you go and get the (club’s) defibrillator and at that point he stopped breathing.”

Having dashed to fetch the defibrillator. Ali returned to find Tommy and Mrs Shulver had the man’s shirt open, and having made sure everyone was standing back, she shocked him.

It took just one electric shock to restart the man’s heart, which said Ali ‘amazed’ all three of them.

“The one thing that really struck me was the communication between Lisa and Tommy,” said Ali.

“It was second to none and they were both working with each other. They were really in control. They were both dead calm and they both knew what they were doing.”

Tommy and Mrs Shulver then made sure his airways were clear and put him in a recovery position, just as the Community First Responder arrived.

This was quickly followed by the arrival of East Anglian Air Ambulance crew, whose helicopter had landed on the adjacent Rovers pitch.

The man was taken to Norwich Hospital, where the Echo understands his condition is....????.

Tommy’s dad, Dave Hardwick, who is the Haverhill Borough chairman, said of his son: “Myself and my wife are both proud of him because he stepped up to the plate.

“I’ve been speaking to the club and the club are proud of what he did as well and hopefully the fire service will be as well because all of their training he has taken on board and used when he wasn’t on duty.”

Both Mr Shulver and Dave also praised the behaviour of the estimated 400 spectators who were there.

Mr Hardwick said: “everyone who was at the ground was really patient. We had no hassle and at the end with people on the way out.

“We issued them with a ticket if they wanted to come to the rescheduled match. There were a few who didn’t want their money back and we said to some of them, if you don’t want your money back, we will donate it to the East Anglian Air Ambulance and I think we raised £225 from that.

“We are going to round it up to £300 and send it to them. It’s the least we can do.”

Mr Shulver added: “The supporters on the night were absolutely fantastic.

“Everybody who was asked to help did everything that was asked of them and they kept their distance and let Tommy and Lisa do their jobs.”