Man who suffered heart attack on boat volunteers for air ambulance charity that helped him

Jim Hutchinson, from Staveley, was on the lake in his partner Amanda's boat when he started feeling unwell with chest pains. Credit: Great North Air Ambulance Service

A man who suffered a heart attack while on a boat on Lake Windermere has been inspired to volunteer with the air ambulance charity that helped him.

Jim Hutchinson, from Staveley, was on the lake in his partner Amanda's boat when he started feeling unwell with chest pains.

After rapidly becoming worse, the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was called out and its helicopter landed on the Glebe in Bowness.

Recalling the incident, Jim said: "I told Amanda and she initiated a call for the ambulance.

"The lake wardens came down and helped and they were fantastic. They came with oxygen and a defibrillator and moved the boat to a better access point for the ambulance.

"When they assessed me, they confirmed what I was pretty sure of already, that I was having a heart attack.

"So they gave me some analgesia and called for a helicopter because I needed to get to hospital very quickly."

Jim was reunited with the team at the GNAAS. Credit: GNAAS

After he was moved to the helicopter, Jim was assessed by Dr Theo Weston MBE and paramedic Terry Sharpe.

Dr Weston said: "With heart attacks, the quicker we can get somebody to hospital, the better.

"We have a phrase which is that time is muscle, so the shorter time we have before he gets to hospital, the less the muscle is damaged."

Mr Sharpe added: "The speed of our helicopter makes a big difference when a patient needs immediate medical intervention, and the flight time from Windermere to Carlisle, where we took Jim, was around 15 minutes."

Jim was then flown to the Cumberland Infirmary where he had a stent fitted andspent five days in the cardiac unit.

Since the incident, Jim and his family have visited the GNAAS base in Langwathby and have been reunited with the doctor and team of paramedics who helped to save his life.

Following the incident, Jim decided to become a volunteer. Credit: GNAAS

"It's so nice to be able to say thank you," Jim said.

"They were so reassuring and also reassuring to my friends and family who were around at the time before we took off, because it's quite a wrench when you see that helicopter disappear and you don't know what's happening."

Now Jim spends his spare time volunteering with the GNAAS.

"I wanted to put something back. This service relies on volunteers to get the word out there because there is no public funding for it.

"They need £8 million a year, so without volunteers going out, shaking buckets, giving talks etc, people won’t know about it, and they won’t hear the story of the brilliant work that they do."

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