A South Tyneside man’s brush with death has driven him to support a Euro-wide campaign to help save lives.
Eddie Wilde, from Jarrow, owes his life to a defibrillator, the equipment used to shock hearts back in to working.
The 62-year-old’s heart stopped when he was working out at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields, last November.
Quick-thinking members of staff Matthew Dixon and Jim Tulip – who had been trained in CPR – used a defibrillator on Eddie.
Mr Wilde said: “I was dead for six minutes before I came round.
“It was pure luck that I collapsed where I did because having the right staff and equipment on site literally saved my life.
“If I had collapsed somewhere else, that would have been the end.”
The council’s public health team is now backing the initiative by consultant community cardiologist Dr Michael Norton, who has set up a not-for-profit organisation CardioProof to cut down on the number of deaths caused by cardiac arrest and is today marking European Re-Start A Heart Day.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We train all our gym instructors in CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
“It is also incredibly important that we raise awareness of cardiac arrest and encourage people to learn about CPR.
“I am delighted to support this initiative and would encourage as many people as possible to equip themselves with the vital skills they need to save a life.”
Mr Wilde added: “Hopefully more organisations will get involved.”