An Ingatestone mother has been reunited with the people who saved her life after she suffered a cardiac arrest in Chelmsford just before Christmas.
Fiona Eyres the Survivor, Ben Brook & Michelle Turner-Thorne the Saviours
The Gazette previously reported how Fiona Eyres, who lives in Docklands Avenue, collapsed on the walkway below the Army & Navy roundabout on the way to work on December 9.
Following an appeal in both the Gazette and, sister title the Essex Chronicle , four people have come forward, including 50-year-old Michelle Turner-Thorne, who lives in Galleywood.
Michelle feared Fiona was dead until she read her story months later, where she appealed to readers to reunite her with the people who saved her life after being released from hospital.
“Finding out she was alive was like winning the lottery,” said Michelle.
“It feels great. Obviously I don’t know in what small way or whether it worked or to what degree the wonders of medical procedures helped, but it might have given her at least an extra minute – I hope so.”
Fiona was walking from Lidl to work in Chelmsford High Street when she collapsed at about 8.30am.
Ben Brook, a manager at Essex County Council, and Debra Carter, of Great Baddow, quickly interrupted their daily journey to work to run to her aid.
While Ben rang 999, Debra and Maxine Oxlade, of Old Moulsham, placed her in the recovery position.
It was at this point Michelle arrived and knew she had to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as Fiona choked. She pushed hard on Fiona’s chest to the beat of BeeGees’ Stayin’ Alive for three-minutes before paramedics whisked her away.
Michelle added: “Everybody there that day just looked at each other and honestly believed that she was dead. We were left to just mill about. I then came to work very distressed. I knew nothing about this person and I didn’t think I’d find her.”
Michelle even asked workers in BHS three days later if a woman had not turned up to work that day – as their polka dot blouses matched Fiona’s.
“I never thought we would find out what happened in such a positive way. It’s amazing,” Michelle added. “I thought she was dead that day and my first thought was her family need to know that people were there to help, that she was not on her own.
“Not one person walked by that day.”
The four lifesavers believe there was one other helper who is yet to come forward – a woman on a bicycle who calmly stroked Fiona’s face.
Before meeting Michelle in the Saracen’s Head Hotel, in Chelmsford Thursday, Fiona said: “I still don’t know anything of what happened so it will be brilliant for me to just get a bit more information.
“Michelle and the others have done something brilliant, it’s amazing.
“I still don’t know if that would have been the end of me or not if everybody hadn’t helped.”
Retired police officer Fiona regained her memory while lying in a Broomfield Hospital bed on Christmas Eve.
She is now recovering after having a defibrillator fitted.
Her daughter Carolyn Kirkpatrick, 26, said: “I am really glad Michelle came forward, it’s a big thing to do that. It’s amazing that everyone stopped. I have never seen anything like that happen in real life.
“I would like to think that people would stop, even at a busy time when everyone is going to work.”