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Woman brought back to life three times after cardiac arrest thanks life-savers who gave her ‘chance of a second life’

PUBLISHED: 22:00 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:59 10 January 2019

John Barnes, Alan Clapson, Sue Clapson and Ben Robinson  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Barnes, Alan Clapson, Sue Clapson and Ben Robinson Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A woman who nearly died after suffering a major cardiac arrest at a cafe has thanked those who gave her the “chance of a second life” after rallying round to rescue her.

Alan and Sue Clapson Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAlan and Sue Clapson Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sue Clapson was having lunch with her husband of 49 years when her head slumped forward and she suffered a major cardiac arrest.

Customers and staff at Cheries coffee shop in Halesworth, where the 70-year-old was having lunch at the time, then rushed to her side to perform CPR and chest compressions alongside her husband Alan.

She was brought back from the dead three times - once by paramedics using a defibrillator - and was still fighting for her life when taken by air ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

But after 12 days in hospital, Mrs Clapson has lived to tell the tale - making an emotional return home on Christmas Day to her husband of 49 years.

Ben Robinson helped perform CPR on Sue after she had a heart attack in the cafe.  L-R Ben Robinson, Sue and Alan Clapson  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBen Robinson helped perform CPR on Sue after she had a heart attack in the cafe. L-R Ben Robinson, Sue and Alan Clapson Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In a moving message to those who rallied round to save her, she said her neighbours “have not only given me a chance of a second life but also reinforced our love of our wonderful town of Halesworth”.

And the owner of the cafe where the incident happened says it shows the need for more people to learn CPR and life-saving skills.

Mr Clapson, 69, fortunately had CPR training from his 30 years in the Parachute Regiment - but the first time he had ever been forced to use it was to save his wife.

“In my wildest dreams I never thought I would use it,” he said.

He said the incident on December 13 came as a complete shock, as Mrs Clapson had not shown any signs of being unwell beforehand.

He said: “I got my wife on the floor and I started doing mouth to mouth whilst another older gentleman started doing chest compressions.

“After the older chap started to tire of doing chest compressions, Ben Robinson (who works at the Cheries) stepped in and was superb.

“The staff at the Norfolk and Norwich were great. The NHS gets bad publicity but I can’t fault it.

“The air ambulance are a charity, whatever we’ve put in the box over the years they’ve earned it and more.”

Cheries owner John Barnes said: “CPR should be compulsory in the final year of school.

“Anyone could have a cardiac arrest, family, friends or colleagues so people should be able to carry out the basic CPR procedure.

“Even if a stranger collapses on the street you should know how to help.”

Mr and Mrs Clapson have now thanked the staff at Cheries but are keen to trace the unknown older gentleman who started the CPR.

Mrs Clapson, who has lived in Halesworth for 20 years, also took to Facebook to thank those who helped.

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