A first aid teacher whose lessons have saved lives is to retire after a career which started when she became the youngest in the country.
Marion Westell began working at the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in September 1979 as a swimming instructor before deciding to retrain.
In 1982 she became the Royal Life Saving Society’s youngest tutor.
The 61-year-old First Aid Consultant, said: “I’m always hearing stories. People stop me in the street to tell me how my training has helped them to save someone’s life.”
Marion recently heard from two of her trainees, Paige Kreft and Sarah Quinn, who found themselves in situations where life was in danger.
Marion said: “Paige was sat in her car outside a Starbucks when a woman got out of the car with a baby. She was panicking because the child wasn’t breathing.
“Paige asked the woman to call an ambulance while she placed the baby down on the car seat and began CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
“She told me that part way through the baby gasped and it looked like she had started breathing, but Paige remembered this was agonal breathing from my training – when the body spasms in response to cardiac arrest – and she carried on.
“After a few cycles, the baby began to breathe and opened her eyes. Police and paramedics told Paige she had done a brilliant job and saved the baby’s life. The child was only three weeks old.”
Sarah Quinn, health and wellbeing development manager at Blackburn with Darwen Council, had also taken Marion’s training.
She said: “I was driving home from work with my husband when we spotted an older gentleman stumbling down the street. As we drove past I saw him fall.
“I immediately stopped and got out of the car. I could tell straight away that he wasn’t breathing properly. I tried to wake him with no luck, and so I called 999.
“I noticed his agonal gasps and the colour of his skin and knew what I needed to do so I began CPR.
“An off-duty police officer arrived, and together we took turns performing CPR until the ambulance arrived.
“A few days later I contacted Marion to thank her for her training. I was grateful that everything I had been taught just kicked in!”
Marion, who retires next month, said: “Knowing how to save someone’s life is so important and I want to encourage everyone to learn how. You just never know when you will need it.”
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