Skip to main content
11 Feb

Alan Shearer presents prestigious awards to two lifesavers

Alan Shearer presents prestigious awards to two lifesavers

Alan Shearer presents prestigious award at Wentworth Leisure Centre

Football legend and Deputy Lieutenant for Northumberland Alan Shearer CBE presented the Royal Humane Society for Resuscitation Awards to John Fox and Elaine Pegg at the Wentworth Leisure Centre in Hexham yesterday.


As well as presenting the awards, Alan was at the centre to talk to participants of the Active Northumberland walking football group to find out more about the benefits of playing this sport - a slow paced version of the game which has been developed to inspire men and women to get more exercise and counter social isolation.

Lifesaving actions

In February 2018, the professional actions of Active Northumberland employee John Fox and nurse Elaine Pegg undoubtedly saved the life of a gentleman who went into cardiac arrest following a walking football session at the centre.


Elaine, a wife of one of the players, and a nurse, quickly recognised what was happening and the seriousness of the situation. The gentleman had stopped breathing, was unconscious and had no discernible pulse and it was clearly evident that without urgent life-saving CPR he would die. Elaine immediately started CPR and an ambulance was called.


Active Northumberland employee and leisure centre first aider John Fox swiftly came to assist and took control of the situation. Despite an initial lack of response from the patient he continued CPR and the use of the centre’s defibrillator machine relentlessly for a period of 10 minutes until paramedics arrived. In administering CPR John was constantly aided by Elaine Pegg.


As a consequence of this determined effort the patient began to show signs of life with laboured breathing and a weak but detectable pulse. Throughout the entire incident John nurtured the patient’s breathing and pulse bringing him back to life. This sustained and outstanding effort stabilised the patient in the critical period awaiting the arrival of paramedics.


On arrival,  paramedics treated the patient at the scene for a further 20 minutes before transporting him to a specialist cardiac centre. The patient has since made a full recovery, although he has no recollection of the events.


Alan Shearer CBE said:

“ The immediate and professional  actions demonstrated by both John and Elaine

brought about a happy outcome to what may well  have been a tragedy. They are deserving of the highest of praise and recognition for their actions in this challenging situation and I am delighted to present them with this prestigious award. ”


Tim Wickens  who had been playing walking football and was a witness to events on the day was so impressed by the efforts and actions of those involved that he submitted the application for the Royal Humane Society for Resuscitation Awards.


He said: “ In situations like this every second counts. The  chances of survival and the quality of life afterwards are enhanced if CPR is commenced as soon as possible.


“ Elaine and John acted swiftly and continued to persevere with CPR  when the situation looked very bleak. To be honest I really thought we’d lost him. The patient had no pulse and wasn’t breathing for quite some time, but they just kept going and going. Their efforts were sustained and heroic and without a shadow of a doubt saved a life.  I really felt they deserved a significant accolade and that is why I nominated them for this award. ”


Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said:


“ I’m incredibly proud of the actions of all the team on duty on the day. Our centres are equipped with defibrillator machines and our staff are well trained in first aid. However, to be able to keep calm,  think clearly and put that training into action during the extreme pressure and emotionally charged environment of a real life or death incident shows incredible professionalism.”


Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said:

“Our staff undertake first aid and CPR training but we always hope that they are never in a situation to have to use it. John has successfully administered CPR on 2 previous occasions over the last ten years whilst working at the Wentworth Leisure Centre so he has actually helped to save three lives which is really commendable.”

The walking football class has been taking place at  Wentworth Sports Centre for almost two years. Those taking part have reported positive changes to their health, which in some cases have been quite remarkable. Some participants are getting better cholesterol readings,  balance and mobility while others have lost weight and are definitely getting fitter so there are some great health benefits involved as well as the enjoyment and camaraderie that comes from playing the game.

Active Northumberland also works in partnership with  local GP surgeries to encourage anyone who has a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or who is overweight to become more active and help improve their medical conditions.

The supervised and structured GP Referral exercise program delivered by Active Northumberland is designed to help improve general as well as cardiovascular health, gradually restoring physical fitness and reducing the risk of future health problems.


To find out more about walking football classes run by Active Northumberland  please call 01670 620200


Download the app and get active!