Dramatic events by the ninth green save John’s life

The joint manager of the Mid Sussex Golf Club, Lee Andrews with the defibrillator that helped saved the life of a golfer next to the 9th green
The joint manager of the Mid Sussex Golf Club, Lee Andrews with the defibrillator that helped saved the life of a golfer next to the 9th green

A golfer’s life was saved through a remarkable set of circumstances and the use of a Public Access Defibrillator.

John Evans, 80, was driving his car out of Mid Sussex Golf Club off Spatham Lane, Ditchling when he suffered a heart attack.

Somehow, he managed to stop the car in the drive but collapsed before he could call for help.

His life was saved through luck, curiosity and the fact that his car came to a halt near the ninth green where golfers were playing.

Two club members on the green, Pat and Rod Montague, saw the car stationary in the drive and thought it was odd that the engine was running.

They went to investigate and found John unconscious.

Through a lucky coincidence, Dr Martin Toynbee, a Mid Sussex GP, happened to be playing golf on the ninth green.

He rushed over, removed John from the car and began administering chest compressions to try to keep him alive.

The emergency services were called and with every critical second ticking by, the 999 operator contacted the club house asking for someone to run down to the car with the Public Access Defibrillator while the ambulance was on its way.

Joint club managers Lee Andrews and Andrew Smith didn’t waste a moment.

They had no idea who needed a shock to the heart but they grabbed the machine and ran.

Lee said: “When we arrived, John had stopped breathing.

“Dr Toynbee asked us to use the defibrillator so Andrew pressed the button and administered the shock.

“John made a massive gasp and started to breathe in and out - it all happened so quickly, we didn’t have time to think.”

Within minutes, the ambulance arrived and paramedics took over, but John was still in a critical condition so the Air Ambulance was called and arrived very quickly, landing on the ninth green.

John was flown to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and is now recovering at home.

Andrew said: “I remember thinking John was being given the best chance by everyone.

“His recovery is due to the paramedics, medical staff and the happy coincidence of a doctor on the ninth green and the defibrillator.

“Now we know the true value of having one on site.”

Lee added: “John doesn’t remember what happened but I am sure he must have stopped the car knowing the ninth green was opposite with golfers nearby.

“If he had stopped 20 yards further back his car would have been behind a bush and out of sight.

“Forty yards further on and he would have been out of the drive.”

The saying goes that a cat has nine lives but in John’s case, nine really was the luckiest number he could have wished for. The life-saving incident happened on November 5. John’s family are very grateful to everyone involved.

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