Morrisons staff in Berwick thanked for heroic actions

Back row, left to right, Lee-Anne Drummond, Ben Tucker, store manager Paul Williamson and Maureen Johnston. Front, Ellen and Walter Dodds.
Back row, left to right, Lee-Anne Drummond, Ben Tucker, store manager Paul Williamson and Maureen Johnston. Front, Ellen and Walter Dodds.

Staff at Morrisons in Berwick have been thanked for their heroic actions in saving the life of a heart attack victim.

Walter Dodds, from Glenrothes, in Fife, stopped at the supermarket for breakfast on the start of a golfing trip to England.

What happened in the next 45 minutes as staff members fought to save him, made the difference between life and death for it was the quick-thinking actions of 60-year-old checkout supervisor Maureen Johnston, along with support from other staff, that ultimately saved him.

“It was fortunate that I turned round to see him at the moment when he collapsed,” said Maureen who, as one of the store’s trained first aiders, rushed to his assistance.

“I’ve dealt with this sort of thing before but it quickly became apparent as I put Walter into the recovery position that it was a whole lot more serious as he had stopped breathing.

“I guess the seriousness of what you are faced with and the adrenaline just kicks in. I really had no time to think about it.”

Helped by colleagues Lee-Anne Drummond, who relayed vital information from paramedics who had been alerted to the emergency, Ben Tucker and manager Paul Williamson, Maureen set about administering CPR.

There was a sense of elation for the staff as Walter started breathing again, but it was to offer a brief glimmer of hope as Walter’s heart subsequently stopped four times.

“It turned into a fight to save his life, and was extremely stressful as it became more and more frantic, I was told more than once that we had lost him but I was determined not to give up, we all were,” Maureen recalled.

Helped by the kiss of life and constant efforts to resuscitate the 68-year-old’s heart, it became an increasingly desperate fight for life before professional help arrived.

“It was only afterwards that I was told we were the difference between saving him and losing him,” Maureen added. “The gravity of what we had done and the emotion didn’t hit me until some time later.”

After nearly four weeks in Newcastle hospitals and an operation to insert stents into his heart, Walter was allowed to return home for further convalescence and care at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

Last week Walter and his family got the chance to thank the staff who had been invited to attend a special charity function and a reunion with the man whose life they saved.

“They are very special people and I can’t begin to thank them enough, and finally meeting Maureen and her colleagues face-to-face has been very, very emotional indeed but also vitally important,” said Walter.