Alec Luckin from Camelford in north Cornwall is a keen golfer and has been secretary of the Seniors at Bowood Park Golf Club for over ten years. So it was frustrating to him when while doing some DIY at home in the autumn of 2020 that he pulled the intercostal muscles in his chest which prevented him from playing his beloved golf.

A few weeks later, the pains in his chest were easing and Alec was looking forward to getting back out on the course. But all that was to change when, on the 29th December, Alec suffered a cardiac arrest.

Alec and his wife, Barbara, had popped into Wadebridge to visit their favourite health food shop for some advice when as they were about to pay for their goods, Barbara noticed that Alec had gone quiet. He collapsed, knocking into a display as he fell.

Barbara explained:

“It was all such a shock! One minute he was chatting to the shop assistant, Nicky. The next he went quiet and collapsed. I was so grateful to the shop staff; they were absolutely brilliant and just took over. I was in complete shock and just didn’t know what to do, but the staff all rallied around, first putting Alec in the recovery position and then moving him onto his back to start CPR. One was holding his head and another doing the compressions, while a third sat me down in a room at the back of the shop; I just couldn’t watch. It was exhausting for all of them and they were taking turns as often as they needed to. I was also aware that a customer, Sarah, had tried to enter the shop and, as she realised the seriousness of the situation inside, also offered her services to help. We later learned that Sarah was a chef of her own catering business and only the week before had been on a first-aid course. The timing was perfect, and her assistance was also very much appreciated.”

With Cornwall’s Air Ambulance already attending a patient in the west of the county, it was Devon’s Air Ambulance crew from Eaglescott who were despatched to attend to Alec and critical care paramedics Adrian Parker and Grant Thompson were soon in Wadebridge. With the helicopter unable to land close to the shop, the aircrew were whisked to the scene by a land ambulance crew. Quickly assessing the severity of the case, and with complex issues of conveying Alec by air, the decision was made to take him by road, assisted and monitored by DAA paramedic Adrian for the journey to Treliske Hospital in Truro.

As Alec was being prepared to be conveyed, Barbara was being looked after by the shop staff and was grateful for their support. Barbara continued:

I could have gone in the ambulance with Alec, but I was dreading anything happening to him on the way to hospital. So I waited for my sister to collect me and we travelled together to Truro. Alec had been taken straight through to surgery for a stent to be fitted but was then taken to Intensive Care as it was realised that he had developed pneumonia. Sadly, I was unable to see him at all that day. I learned that once the stent had been fitted, his heart was going to be ok, but Alec was put into a coma for the damage to his lungs to repair. He stayed in hospital for two weeks.

The very good news is that Alec is now recovering well and back doing short walks to help in his rehabilitation. He is still looking forward to getting back out on the golf course! Such is his popularity at Bowood Park that the owners and management of the popular golf club have invited the staff and owners of the health food shop, along with chef Sarah, to join Alec and Barbara for a meal in their restaurant  as a gesture of their massive appreciation to everyone who helped him on that day.

The swift response of those around Alec made a massive difference to him that day. It is also thanks to communities in Devon that we are able to assist too. As a charity that is 100% independent of government funding we continue to welcome your support. 

Donate to us today