Headteacher reveals how pupils raised £4,000 for defibrillators which saved his life
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A headteacher who was welcomed back to school by teary-eyed children after he suffered a cardiac arrest has revealed how the pupils raised £4,000 for defibrillators which saved his life.
Nick Sheeran suffered a cardiac arrest in July last year in the school’s playground at Birkdale Primary in Southport.
He was given first aid by three colleagues who performed CPR and also used one of the four defibrillators installed in the school grounds which were bought by money raised by the primary school children.
He told MailOnline: ‘I just felt everything go dark. Next thing I know, I was coming around, and saw my son – who was with me in the yard.
‘Three members of staff performed CPR on me and got the defibrillator on me too, and then I was rushed to hospital.’
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Nick Sheeran suffered a cardiac arrest seven months ago at Birkdale Primary School in Southport. His colleagues saved his life using a defibrillator installed thanks to money raised by the school’s pupils
One young pupil named Tyler sobbed with joy as he was delighted to see his headteacher return to school
Nick pictured with his wife Joanne. He is now back working at the primary school and has an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
The defibrillators were provided by Mark King, whose 12-year-old son Oliver died in 2011 from heart failure.
Over the last 11 years Mr King has been installing the devices in schools following the death of his son during a swimming lesson at King David High School in Liverpool.
Mr Sheeran is the 68th person who has survived after being treated with defibrillator provided by the Oliver King Foundation, which has fitted more than 6,000 of them across the UK.
Mr Sheeran is the 68th person who has survived after being treated with defibrillator provided by the Oliver King Foundation
Like Danish footballer Christian Eriksen, who suffered cardiac arrest during a UEFA Euro 2020 match, Mr Sheeran was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator – a device that shocks the heart should it stop beating.
According to The British Heart Foundation a defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest.
It increases the chance of survival by more than 40 per cent if they are used on the patient within three to five minutes.
Mr Sheeran was filmed surprising the children in an assembly this week.
Many cheered and wept, with one young pupil named Tyler sobbing with joy before Mr Sheeran comforts him with a pat on the shoulders.
The headteacher said: ‘They’re lovely children. There’s a little boy at the front, Tyler. He’s a cracking little lad. He just said to me: ‘I was just so pleased to see you Mr Sheeran’.
‘It’s a real honour and a privilege to have the job that I have. I do take it seriously and I spend a lot of time making sure that the children in my school have a fun time and that us as teachers have a good bond with them.
‘I wasn’t expecting such a reaction and all the comments that I’ve had from everybody, it’s just been so so lovely, but I’m just so proud of the children. Both the kids and Mark really did save my life.’
Mr King, to whom the young children voted to be their ‘Star of the Week’, said it was a ‘very emotional’ day and that he was ‘ecstatic’ that the defibrillator he had provided had saved Mr Sheeran’s life.
‘He’s like our Ollie, people just warmed to him,’ he told BBC Breakfast.
Mr Sheeran added: ‘We were one of the first schools that Mark contacted to get the defibrillators installed. He really is responsible for saving my life because he planted the seeds all those years ago and got the defibs in place for us.’
Over the last 11 years Mark King (pictured with a defibrillator) has been installing the devices in schools following the tragic death of his son
Oliver King, 12, died in 2011 after suffering heart failure during a swimming lesson at King David High School in Childwall, Liverpool
Nick Sheeran suffered a cardiac arrest seven months ago at Birkdale Primary in Southport
Mr Sheeran has returned to the school seven months after suffering from cardiac arrest and says he is ‘raring to go’
Oliver King was in year seven when he died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), which is when a person dies suddenly and unexpectedly from an unexplained cardiac arrest. It affects 500 people every year in the UK.
He collapsed after taking part in a swimming race and was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where he tragically passed away.
His family was prompted to launch the foundation in his name after feeling frustrated that there was no defibrillator available to save their son in time.
Mr King said: ‘I was angry because my Ollie wasn’t the first one to die of a sudden cardiac arrest, whether it be in school or out of school.
‘I was wondering why he wasn’t protected, why our kids weren’t protected in schools, indeed why the wider public aren’t protected,’ he told the Liverpool Echo in July 2022.
In January this year the Department of Education (DfE) confirmed that all 20,000 state schools in England will be given a defibrillator by the end of this academic year.
The DfE hopes the move will save the lives of pupils, staff and school visitors.
Schools are already required to teach first aid as part of the curriculum, with secondary school pupils being taught CPR and about defibrillators.
Meanwhile in December 2022 the government announced a £1million fund aimed at increasing the number of defibrillators across England by around 1,000.
The new fund will allow people to apply for defibrillators for areas most in need and with the highest footfall, such as local shops, post offices and parks.
The Oliver King Foundation said today: ‘After having 1million+ views on our recent interview with headteacher Nick from Birkdale Primary School, regarding one of our Defibrillators which saved his life.
‘Our next aim is to open our very own Testing Centre, so we can complete full ECG tests on children and also have a Cardiac Rehabilitation unit.
‘After a 10 year battle, we finally got legislation for every school in the UK to receive a defibrillator.
‘One of our other aims now is to have defibrillators installed in ALL public places. Where ever you see a fire extinguisher, there should be a defibrillator.
‘We want to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support over the years, it does not go unnoticed.’
ARE YOU A PARENT AT THE SCHOOL? Email: [email protected]