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JCoss teacher honoured for saving pupil's life

    Ashley White (right) and Noah Baron-Cohen with Dr Hilary Jones
    Ashley White (right) and Noah Baron-Cohen with Dr Hilary Jones

    A PE teacher at a Jewish secondary school has received a prestigious award for saving the life of one of his pupils.

    Ashley White, a member of the physical education department at JCoSS School in Barnet, performed CPR on a Year 11 child who collapsed in his lesson earlier this year.

    As previously reported in the JC, Noah Baron-Cohen suffered a cardiac arrest after running for 12 minutes as part of his training for his PE GCSE.

    Mr White performed the lifesaving first aid on the teenager until the emergency services arrived, 15 minutes later.

    Now the charity which helps to prevent Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome – SADS UK - has honoured the teacher with its UK Lifesaver Award.

    SADS UK patron Dr Hilary Jones, who gives health advice on the ITV Good Morning Britain show, presented the award to Mr White at the charity’s annual National Lifesaver Defibrillator Awards in front of eminent cardiologists, ambulance service trusts and the president of the Resuscitation Council (UK).

    Mr White said: "I am humbled and thrilled to accept this award. I am so pleased that my actions had helped contribute to Noah's survival. I want to acknowledge the support of my colleagues and students at JCoSS.

    “Additionally I want to say thank you to my friends and family who supported me throughout this traumatic time. I am thankful JCoSS put me through the necessary training which gave me the confidence to contribute to the saving of Noah's life. I can only hope that more people become trained and defibrillators become compulsory in all schools."

    Sudden cardiac death in young people is caused mainly by the various types of cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) or by disorders of the electrical conduction system of the heart that can cause arrhythmias, such as Long-QT syndrome, Brugada Syndrome or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

    Public awareness of such conditions has been raised significantly by footballer Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped beating for 78 minutes after he collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane in 2012.

    Noah’s mother Angelique Brook said her family were “thrilled” at the teacher’s recognition.

    She said: “We will be forever grateful for Ashley for the actions he took that day. The actions of Mr White not only saved Noah's life, it ensured he had oxygen which prevented any damage to his brain. Without Mr White being at the school that day we would not have our son here tonight."

    Patrick Moriarty, headteacher of JCoSS, told the audience that psalms were recited during lunchtime every day at school until Noah came out of intensive care.

    He said: “I’m pleased to say that Noah made a phenomenal recovery and was home within two weeks. Everyone agrees that it was the swift and professional action that PE teacher Ashley White took that saved Noah’s life. He gave CPR for about 15 minutes until the emergency services arrived, taking instruction from the 999 operator down the phone.

    “He was totally calm and heroic throughout. The paramedic doctor and the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital said that the quality of his actions, as well as its promptness, was key to the speed of Noah’s recovery.”

    The charity has long been working to introduce mandatory defibrillator’s in Britain’s school.

    Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, said: “The charity is pleased to honour people in the community who have taken lifesaving action when they have witnessed a cardiac arrest. Early CPR and defibrillation are needed to give a person the very best chance of survival. The SADS UK Big Shock Campaign urges Government to bring in legislation to make defibrillators compulsory in all schools to save young lives.”

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