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Hockey player who saved best friend’s life helps launch Scottish First Aid Awards

Andrew Allan with best friend Ewan Fraser whose life he saved during a hockey game

A Scottish hockey player who saved the life of his best friend and teammate during a game is helping to launch a first aid charity’s annual awards.

St Andrew’s First Aid is calling for nominations to recognise those who have performed “outstanding” acts of first aid or have “gone above-and-beyond” for their community.

As part of the launch for the 2022 awards, the charity is sharing the story of hockey player Andrew Allan, who used the knowledge and skills he gained from a first aid course to save his best friend Ewan Fraser’s life.

‘We went into autopilot’

The 30-year-olds met at age four and have been firm friends ever since, going to the same schools and playing for the same hockey team, Clydesdale Hockey Club, for the past 15 years.

During a weekend game last month, Mr Fraser suddenly collapsed on the pitch due to a cardiac arrest. He stopped breathing and started turning blue, but thanks to his training, Mr Allan was able to remain calm and deliver chest compressions until the ambulance arrived.

Fellow teammate Ben Cosgrove stepped in to give rescue breaths during CPR while Holly Steiger accessed the club defibrillator, with assistance from Euan Lindsay and Jack Mackenzie.

Mr 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.

Ewan Fraser and some of his hockey teammates. Supplied by St Andrew’s First Aid.

First aid training is vital

Mr Fraser shared that he will never be able to repay his friends and teammates for saving his life that day.

He continued: “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.”

St Andrew’s First Aid is the only dedicated first aid charity in the country which works to raise awareness of life-saving skills and training.

Since 2015, the charity has taught CPR skills to more than 100,000 people and other vital first-aid skills to thousands more in schools, communities, youth groups and prisons.

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.”

Nominations open now

Individuals and organisations can be nominated for the 10 categories through the St Andrew’s First Aid website until 5pm on Wednesday, December 1.

To mark its 140th anniversary, the charity has introduced the Scotland’s Volunteer of the Year Award which will recognise an “individual who has carried out inspiring work and made a positive impact in their community throughout the pandemic.”

The awards for 2022 are:

  • Community First Aid Champion
  • First Class Award
  • Organisation of the Year for First Aid Excellence
  • St Andrew’s First Aid Corps Company of the Year
  • Emergency Services Hero of the Year
  • Young First Aid Hero
  • First Aid Hero
  • The Amy Allan Young Volunteer of the Year
  • St Andrew’s First Aid Volunteer of the Year
  • Scotland’s Volunteer of the Year

The Scottish First Aid Awards will be held at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow on March 11, 2022.