Whilst a sporting injury is not uncommon for players of walking football, a recent Exeter Strollers Walking Football Club session took a shocking turn when a player suddenly collapsed on the pitch.

Unaware he had a heart problem, Andy Hannan had been playing at Wonford Sports Centre when he suddenly collapsed as his heart and breathing stopped. Teammate and everyday hero Sue Hutchings, was quick to respond, accurately assessing the need for immediate CPR, giving Andy the best chance of recovery.

Thanks to her skills and her confidence under pressure, Andy’s heart was restarted and he was already coming round, when the emergency services arrived.

“The Royal Life Saving Society UK is incredibly proud of Sue and her quick-thinking, lifesaving actions,” said Robert Gofton, RLSS UK’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Without her skills and presence of mind in an emergency situation, the outcome for Mr. Hannan could’ve been very different.

“We’re delighted Mr. Hannan has made a recovery, and he has all our best wishes for his impending surgery.”

Sue is no stranger to the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), as she is an RLSS UK Lifesaving Instructor, holds the country’s premier lifeguarding qualification RLSS UK’s National Pool Lifeguard Qualification, is an active volunteer with Bovey Tracey Lifesaving Club and is married to former RLSS UK President, Ian Hutchings.

It’s clear Mr. Hannan was in good hands:

“I was waiting for the next game to start and realised someone was lying on the floor by the gate.

“When I got there I recognised Andy and quickly realised he was in real trouble. I started CPR straight away, until the Centre Manager arrived and applied the defibrillator.

“If it wasn’t for Andy, we wouldn’t have a defibrillator at the centre, it was him who’d obtained a grant to have it installed. It’s one of life’s ironies that its first ever use was to save his life!

“I’m just relieved I was able to perform CPR in those crucial first few moments, and it’s great news he’s still here to tell the tale.”

Thanks to Sue, Wonford Sports Centre Manager Jimmy Moore and the support from other ‘strollers’ on the day, Andy is now recovering in hospital and preparing for heart surgery.

Find out more about lifesaving awards

RLSS UK's Lifesaver-Lifechanger Toolkit

Join a local club