Bakewell bike ride heart attack survivor thanks Air Ambulance charity

John Wilson has thanked the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance crew who saved his life after collapsing on the Eroica bike ride near Bakewell, and is urging the public to show their support for the charity during Air Ambulance week this September.
John Wilson has thanked the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance crew who saved his life after collapsing on the Eroica bike ride near Bakewell, and is urging the public to show their support for the charity during Air Ambulance week this September.

A man who received life-saving care from the air ambulance while out on a Peak District bike ride has urged people to support the charity.

Former international basketball player John Wilson, 56, was near the end of the Eroica Britannia bike ride outside Bakewell in June 2016 when he went into cardiac arrest.

He was given CPR by an off-duty doctor who was also on the ride until the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance arrived with a defibrillator and then flew John to Sheffield for treatment.

He said: “Basically I died, but, due to the speedy actions of medics, I survived. I am unbelievably thankful to everyone who helped. The fact I am still alive is down to the air ambulance and the other people.”

John, who lives in Sheffield, spent two weeks recovering at the Northern General Hospital and was fitted with a defibrillator under his armpit to monitor his heart beat and deliver a controlled electric shock in case of any problem.

While it has forced him to adjust his lifestyle, John and wife Gillian returned to the Eroica event in 2017 and 2018.

He said: “It was emotional for us both to go back and take part in the ride, which started out as a social event and ended as a nightmare for the whole family, but it has helped me to close a door and move forward.”

John has also visited the air ambulance base at East Midlands Airport to thank the crew who saved him.

He said: “Many people don’t realise the air ambulance is a charity which receives no government funding. I hope stories like mine will encourage people to support it.”

Air Ambulance Week, one of the charity’s biggest annual fundraising events, will take place from September 8 to 16.

For more information, visit https://goo.gl/jf2Ueo.