Everyone is a potential life-saver – could you be?
St John Ambulance is this month running its third annual Save a Life September campaign. Here, reporter Paul Whitelam meets a St John Ambulance volunteer who saved a choking man at a wedding and hears from another who came to the rescue of a schoolboy after a bike crash...
For the happy couple, their wedding day was all they could have wished for... and more.
The speeches were entertaining, the food delicious and the company sublime.
But all of a sudden, one of the guests began to choke on his dinner during the reception at Ruston Sports & Social Club.
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He was red in the face and struggling to breathe.
Then St John Ambulance Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire district manager Peter Howie, 50, saved his life.
He swiftly delivered a back blow and the piece of food came out. He said: "What's important to remember is that I was a guest at the wedding and a member of the public.
"I was not there in a St John Ambulance capacity.
"We cannot be everywhere so the more people know how to do some simple things to help save lives the better.
"I saw a man going red and choking and I just responded to it.
"The first thing I did was tell him to cough but it didn't make any difference so the next step in such cases is to say you're going to hit them on the back and that worked.
"The hardest part was trying to do it with dignity and decorum in the middle of a wedding meal."
On another occasion, Mr Howie, from St Catherine's, Lincoln, stopped to help at the scene of an accident where a car had gone straight through a roundabout and into a barrier on the A17 near Newark.
He was travelling a few cars behind so he was first on scene and went to see if he could help.
The man driving had suspected neck injuries and was drifting in and out of consciousness. His wife was also distressed.
Mr Howie called an ambulance and held the man's head still until the paramedics arrived.
He also asked some bystanders to help and comfort the man's wife, and stayed with him until he was taken to hospital.
Mr Howie, who joined the first aid charity at the age of 9 and has been a volunteer for more than 40 years, was presented with the High Sheriff's Award in March this year in recognition for his commitment to the first aid charity.
"First aid is all about being there quickly and there are some things that will make a difference in the eight minutes before the ambulance gets there," he said.
"Some easy things to do even without a first aid kit are keeping the airwaves open, stop bleeding, make sure the patient's breathing and support injuries to control any pain."
Meanwhile, Andrew Doughty, 16, who is Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire St John Ambulance cadet of the year, recently used his first aid skills to help a schoolboy who had fallen off his bike.
Andrew, who lives in Newark Road, Lincoln, attends the joint North Kesteven sixth form, and hopes to become a doctor, said: "I was walking home from school when one of my friends came running over saying he had just seen someone come over the handle bars of their bike and wanted me to go and help.
"When I got there the boy was still on the floor complaining his mouth hurt.
"After giving him a quick check over it became apparent that he had hit his face, knocking three of his front teeth out.
"He was also saying that he couldn't remember anything that happened building up to, during the incident or anything afterwards until I was there talking to him.
"I was concerned that he may have suffered concussion, so I called for an ambulance.
"I stayed with the boy until the ambulance crew arrived and then handed over."
St John Ambulance has revealed shocking new research showing that more than half of parents in the East Midlands lack the skills necessary to save their child in the event of a life-threatening accident.
Its personnel will be offering shoppers free first aid tips at the Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, September 28.
To view an interactive first aid guide visit www.sja.org. uk/savetheboy