David teaching Community CPR at the Cambridgeshire County Day

Cambridgeshire based, David Walston, has been recognised for his fantastic contributions to local charity, Magpas Air Ambulance, by winning Volunteer of the Year in the Chartered Institute of Fundraising Awards (East Anglia).

In summer 2019 David suffered a cardiac arrest, which he only survived thanks to his wife’s effective CPR before Magpas Air Ambulance could take over, providing him with pre-hospital emergency care.

He explains, “11 days after I spent 15 minutes dead on my bedroom floor, I was back at work. Not many people can say they’ve saved a life, but my wife and Magpas Air Ambulance can. I know I’m one of the very lucky ones.”

Inspired by his wife’s actions and surprised by the statistic that over 90% of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the UK die, David has since made it his mission to spend his free time doing all he can to save more lives.

In January, David volunteered as a trainer with Magpas Air Ambulance’s free community CPR and defibrillator training programme (introduced to teach the importance of effective, timely CPR by members of the public in the precious minutes prior to the arrival of emergency services)—becoming the first volunteer of this kind with the charity. In a matter of months, outside of his normal working hours and second job as a community first responder, David has already taught over 200 people aged 8+ the lifesaving skills of CPR—and received 100% positive feedback from everyone he trained.

By doing so, David’s also helping Magpas Air Ambulance achieve its mission to save lives and limit disability, by giving its clinicians the best possible chance of being able to effectively treat patients in cardiac arrest outside of hospital.

On top of this, David has also raised awareness and funds for the charity through his training sessions; helping to secure over £3,000 in donations.

Nicola Cooper, Magpas Air Ambulance’s Community Training and Engagement Officer explains, “David’s contribution to the training has been amazing and it’s fantastic to work alongside such a passionate volunteer. Not only is he contributing to our work in the community, but by allowing us to use his story in our training, it makes it so much more impactful. Working with David brings validity to what we’re trying to achieve and to be able to say he’s delivering the training after suffering a cardiac arrest himself, in his own time as a volunteer, is so powerful. David’s passion to spread the word is motivational and he empowers those he trains to understand the significance of the training and how they could save the life of a loved one.”

On hearing the news that he’d been nominated and shortlisted for the Volunteer of the Year Award, David explained “It is an honour to have been shortlisted! Providing CPR training is a passion that literally couldn’t be closer to my heart, and I really enjoy the sessions.

“I’m hoping more people will see what an incredible opportunity it is to learn these skills by giving up an hour of their lives, and we can continue to get the word out about the free training Magpas Air Ambulance offers and train up more many more people in the future.”

David’s dedication, reliability and passion in his voluntary work—all in his second chance at life—is nothing short of remarkable. Lucy Chapman, Magpas Air Ambulance Director of Fundraising and Marketing, tuned into the virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday 28th June. She explains, “It was a really proud moment seeing David win the Volunteer of the Year award at the CIOF East Anglia Awards. It is truly humbling that David is using his second chance to train people in the skills that saved his own life, and every session he delivers makes the communities that Magpas Air Ambulance serve safer. David is a fantastic advocate for the charity, and I have no doubt that his volunteering will save lives and keep families together in the future.”

If your business, school or community group is interested in Magpas Air Ambulance’s free Community CPR and defibrillator training, enquire today.