Honours for heroes in life-and-death battle to save legendary sports commentator

Three heroes who fought a life-and-death battle to save legendary football commentator Peter Brackley after he suffered a heart attack in Horsham are to receive top honours.

Peter Brackley presents a defibrillator to the Holbrook Club SUS-160505-101817001
Peter Brackley presents a defibrillator to the Holbrook Club SUS-160505-101817001

Anita Beaken, of Blenheim Road, Horsham; Alex Morris, from Rottingdean, and Special Constable Jonny Fairhall, are all to receive Royal Humane Society Resuscitation certificates for their fight to save the life of Mr Brackley at The Holbrook Club, Horsham, on the evening of February 17.

Mr Brackley, who is in his 60s, collapsed as he was interviewing former Brighton and Hove Albion players Guy Butters and Gary O’Reilly in front of a crowd of people at an Albion in the Community charity event at the club.

Mrs Beaken who had attended a British Heart Foundation Heartstart course and Mrs Morris, a nurse, immediately stepped in and began administering cardiac pulmonary resuscitation - CPR - while Mr Fairhall, who worked at the club arranged for a defibrillator to be collected before helping with the CPR.

The defibrillator was used to deliver two shocks to Mr Brackley before first responder Marc Harrold arrived followed by ambulance staff.

More shocks were delivered - and Mr Brackley began breathing again.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, and subsequently made a full recovery.

He returned to the Holbrook Club later and paid his own thanks to his life-savers - as well as presenting the club with a new defibrillator, which was funded by Albion In The Community via the proceeds from the charity event.

He said at the time: “It is, of course, only through the expertise and dedication of the extraordinary people who rushed to my aid that I am still alive to tell the tale.”

Mr Buckley’s trio of life-savers, whose names were put forward for awards by Mr Harrold, have also won the personal praise of Royal Humane Society secretary, Dick Wilkinson.

He said : “Thanks to the swift action of the three of them Mr Brackley’s heart was started again.

“Time is of the essence in situations such as this and thankfully they were on the scene, knew what needed to be done and went into immediate action to do what was necessary. They were the heroes of the day – I’m sure Mr Brackley feels that way – and richly deserve the awards they are to receive.

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 86,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The Society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.