The awards highlight strength in numbers to save lives
A member of the Clydesdale Hockey Club based on the southside of Glasgow is fronting the launch of a first aid charity’s annual awards, after he saved the life of his best friend and teammate during a weekend game.
Andrew Allan, 30, from Newlands, is supporting St Andrew’s First Aid, Scotland’s only dedicated first aid charity, as it calls for nominations to recognise extraordinary volunteers, organisations, businesses and individuals across the country, who have performed outstanding acts of first aid or gone above-and-beyond their responsibilities for their community.
Andrew has been best friends with Ewan Fraser (30) since the age of four. They grew up together and went to the same schools and for the last 15 years, they have played hockey together, training three times a week and playing on weekends for their club.
It was during a standard weekend game at the Auchenhowie pitches in Milngavie, on Saturday 4 September, when tragedy struck for Ewan.
With no known underlying health conditions or previous concerns, Ewan suddenly became unwell whilst playing and collapsed on the pitch suffering from a cardiac arrest.
Seeing that Ewan had stopped breathing and was turning blue, Andrew immediately went into action, stepping in and delivering chest compressions for close to 10 minutes, whilst he waited on an ambulance to arrive. His efforts saved his best friend’s life.
In an ultimate show of true team spirit, Andrew was closely supported by his teammates who quickly came to his assistance. Ben Cosgove worked with Andrew to give Ewan rescue breaths during the process of CPR, whilst Holly Steiger accessed the club defibrillator. They in turn, were assisted by Euan Lindsay and Jack Mackenzie.
Luckily for Ewan, Andrew had previously taken a first aid training course delivered by St Andrew’s First Aid and whilst he never expected to have to use the knowledge and skills he gained, his quick, calm thinking and confidence in knowing what to do, came into their own in saving the life of his best friend.
Andrew Allan said: “In some ways I feel like we just went into autopilot when Ewan collapsed, and we could see he wasn’t breathing. He was turning blue and my instincts just kicked in.
“I am so thankful that I remembered what to do and was able to help. It really hit home with Ewan being my best friend. But whether it was him or a stranger this happened to, my response would have been the same. What’s most important is that we had been given the training that we needed to know exactly how to react.
“First aid and CPR training is one of those things that you do, because you know it’s important, but you wish you never have to use. I’m just so glad I had done it and that I had the support of my teammates too.”
Since the incident, Ewan has made a speedy recovery, suffering no further health implications. When receiving CPR for extended amounts of time, brain function can be impacted but since his recovery, Ewan has not suffered any mental trauma or functional loss.
Thankful that his best friend knew exactly what to do, Ewan Fraser said: “I feel like this is something I’ll never be able to repay Andrew and my teammates for. I just hope that if I was ever in the same position, I would have reacted in exactly the same way.
“I’ve always thought it important to be first aid trained and I’ve always believed if you can do something to help someone then you should. You really can’t do much more than helping to save someone’s life. I will be forever grateful to Andrew and my teammates for the actions they carried out that day.”
Stuart Callison, chief executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “Ewan’s story highlights how important it is for life-saving skills to be common knowledge. A young, fit and healthy man suffering a cardiac arrest is not as unusual as many may think, and it’s so important that we know how to respond in these types of situations.
“Andrew’s quick thinking and delivery of CPR saved his friends life. He and his fellow teammates are excellent examples of just how important it is to be trained in first aid. “This is a story that brings home the message that cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time and you simply never know when you might need someone to step in and save your life. As a charity, we are immensely proud to have Andrew help us launch our awards this year.
St Andrew’s First Aid is introducing a new category to the awards for 2022, a year which also marks its 140th anniversary. The new award, Scotland’s Volunteer of the Year, will recognise an individual who has carried out inspiring work and made a positive impact in their community throughout the pandemic.
St. Andrew’s First Aid continues to raise awareness of the importance of First Aid training and life-saving skills, through delivering vital training across Scotland. Since 2015, the charity has taught CPR skills to over 100,000 people and other vital first-aid skills to thousands more in schools, communities, youth groups and prisons.
The Scottish First Aid Awards will be held on 11 March 2022 in Glasgow at Radisson Blu.
Nominations can be made across the 10 categories, which are:
- Community First Aid Champion
Given to an individual or organisation who has excelled in promoting first aid and educating their community, ultimately acting as an ambassador for promoting health and safety.
- First Class Award
This award recognises an individual within the education sector, who promotes an exemplary level of first aid knowledge and practice amongst staff and pupils and has helped build resilience through mental health awareness.
- Organisation of the Year for First Aid Excellence
Awarded to an organisation that demonstrates an outstanding level of investment in first aid and mental health awareness, creating a workplace that encourages staff to support each other.
- St Andrew’s First Aid Corps Company of the Year
Recognises the outstanding achievements of St Andrew’s First Aid Volunteer Corps Companies across the country. The award is chosen based on activities throughout the past 18 months, participation rates of volunteers, volunteering opportunities as well as considering governance and record-keeping.
- Emergency Services Hero of the Year
Awards an individual or team who works for one of Scotland’s emergency services, who saved (or provided significant assistance in saving) a life through the delivery of first aid; or applied significant first aid techniques in a high-pressure situation. The award recognises the skill and dedication of our emergency service workers whose actions save lives across Scotland.
- Young First Aid Hero
A young person (under 18 years) who saved, or provided significant assistance in saving, a life through the delivery of first aid or applied significant first aid techniques in a high-pressure situation.
- First Aid Hero
This award is given to an individual who has saved a life through the delivery of first aid or applied significant first aid techniques in a high-pressure situation.
- The Amy Allan Young Volunteer of the Year
A St Andrew’s First Aid young volunteer (aged 5-24) who has excelled at learning, teaching, practicing or supporting first aid to an exemplary level – ultimately, ensuring more people can be the difference between life and death.
- St Andrew’s First Aid Volunteer of the Year
A St Andrew’s First Aid volunteer (over 25) who has excelled at learning, teaching, practising, or supporting first aid to an exemplary level.
- Scotland’s Volunteer of the Year
This new award for 2022 is open to anyone and will recognise an individual who has carried out inspiring work and made a significant positive impact in their communities during the pandemic.