Sunderland gym owner saves the life of a dad who was having a heart attack days before his daughter’s wedding

The owner of The Fitness Bank is aiming to spread awareness of CPR training after he saved the life of a Sunderland dad who suffered a heart attack.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:24 am

Mark Banks, who owns The Fitness Bank, shouldn’t have even been at his gym on Wednesday, September 1, when Andy Trafford had a heart attack on one of the squash courts at Ashbrooke Sports Club.

After hearing a commotion, Mark rushed to the courts and immediately began performing CPR on Andy for around 20 minutes before paramedics arrived and took over.

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Staff at the Freeman Hospital arranged for Andy's daughter Emma to come along on her wedding day so he didn't miss out on seeing her.

Nurses told Andy that Mark performing CPR had saved his life just days before his daughter Emma’s wedding day.

The 57-year-old said: “It was all just a massive shock to me, I hadn’t felt poorly or anything like that beforehand and my first memory of it all was waking up in the Freeman Hospital.

"When the nurse told me what had actually happened, I just couldn’t believe it, especially as it happened two days before my daughter’s wedding.

"It was upsetting that I couldn’t be at the wedding but the staff at the Freeman let them come along with my wife so I was able to see them and it gave me a massive lift.”

Fitness Bank owner Mark Banks (right) saved the life of Andy Trafford (left) by performing CPR on him after he collapsed while playing squash at Ashbrooke Sports Club.

He added: “Coming from a firefighting background, I’ve had to perform CPR many times throughout my career and because of that, people have come down to the station and thanked me for saving their lives.

"And it is just something that you accept, it is a part of the job but when it actually happens to you, it is hard to put into words.

"What can you say to someone that has saved your life other than thank you?”

Fitness Bank owner Mark Banks (right) saved the life of Andy Trafford (left) by performing CPR on him after he collapsed while playing squash at Ashbrooke Sports Club.

Sergio Petrucci, the Founder of Red Sky Foundation, has since been along to Ashbrooke Sports Club to deliver first aid training to members – something Mark would like to see more people undertake.

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The 45-year-old commented: “It was as if the stars had aligned for me to save Andy, especially given that I wasn’t even supposed to be at the gym that day.

"If he was on any other squash court or in any other corner of the one he was on, I never would have seen the commotion from the gym.

"We have since held some CPR and defibrillator training at the club and I cannot stress enough the need for more people to be first aid trained, especially in things like CPR.

"Andy came along to the training session so it was very emotional when I saw him again as I have known him for a couple of years now.

"I can honestly say that it is the biggest achievement in my life, nothing will be able to top that fact that I’ve managed to bring someone else back to life.”

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