During an open swim session at Hi 5 Beale Park, Reading, in August 2021, a swimmer, Jill Allen, who is a member of the National Open Water Coaching Association (NOWCA), suffered a medical episode and became unconscious whilst in the lake.

Luckily, Polly Cranfield, who is a RLSS UK Lifeguard, was working on the lake as part of the water rescue team and spotted Jill in trouble. Polly jumped from her paddleboard and managed to keep Jill’s head above water before being joined by Oliver Spence, who was also in the lake at the time. Oliver was then able to bring Jill back to shore where Andrew Lewis, Events Director at Hi 5, began CPR and called the emergency services.

Shortly after, Angela Spence, a local GP and swimmer, and Francis Burrows, another NOWCA member who had been swimming in the lake, were able to monitor Jill, who was still unconscious but now breathing.

After approximately 11 minutes, the ambulance, paramedic car and land air ambulance team with a doctor were onsite and Jill was taken to hospital where she has been able to make a full recovery.

The rest of the team at Hi 5 co-ordinated the emergency services as well as others who were still swimming in the lake.

On 15th December, Robert Gofton, CEO of RLLS UK and Helen Bowker-Steer, Head of Commercial Services for RLSS UK, visited the team at Hi 5 in Reading to present the lifesavers with certificates for their efforts.

Jill was unable to attend but sent a message of thanks to the team.

Find out more about lifesaving awards

RLSS UK's Lifesaver-Lifechanger Toolkit

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