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July 2022
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Officers save Man's life

A man who collapsed whilst walking home from work in the snow has thanked the people who saved his life today .

Mike Ashton from Kingsdown near Sittingbourne had been walking in sub-zero temperatures early last Saturday morning (4 December) when his body temperature dipped so low he collapsed in an orchard at Chilton Manor Farm, off Highsted Lane, Rodmersham.

Today at Sittingbourne police station he met the people who brought him back to life.

The 59-year-old lorry driver was seen lying on the ground by 30-year-old Nicola Morris who was out walking her dog at 9.30am. She immediately called police and the first officers on the scene were two members of the Sittingbourne Neighbourhood Team, PC Nicki Hunt and PCSO Matthew Link.

PC Hunt said: -When we arrived I couldn’t find a pulse because he was so cold. But when I put my ear to his mouth I heard a very faint breath so I knew he was still alive.

PC Hunt started rubbing Mr Ashton’s arms and legs to get his circulation going while PCSO Link ran to a nearby house to ask for blankets. The officers took off his wet coat and wrapped him in the blankets and a foil space blanket from their patrol car.

We lifted him up to try and get his circulation going, sat him on dry sheeting and he slowly started to come round. said PC Hunt.

She dealt with a potential exposure victim in the snow at the beginning of the year and had been given advice on what to do by paramedics at the time.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust paramedic Fred Hughes said: “PC Hunt and PCSO Link should be very proud of the first aid they performed before my arrival. It’s thanks to their good work that we were able to end up with a positive outcome.

Their actions were absolutely spot on. They were quick to realise the patient was potentially suffering from exposure. They removed his wet jacket, wrapped a space blanket around him, placed a warm dry blanket over that and then protected him from the wind with his jacket. They deserve a good pat on the back. The incident clearly indicates the importance of people spending just a small amount of time to learn first aid and basic life support.

Mr Ashton met all the people involved in the incident today at Sittingbourne Police station: -I think I owe my life to them. If it had not been for Nicola who was walking her dog I would probably still be there now. And when the two officers arrived they knew exactly what to do to save my life. How can I ever thank them enough?, he said.

He had set off from Chatham at just after 6am that morning, knowing that his partner Angie Ward was snowed in at home and wouldn’t be able to pick him up.

-It just shows how vulnerable you can be in certain situations and how quickly the cold can take hold. The snow was semi slushy so it was three times harder to walk than normal and I was hungry and dehydrated. I remember becoming very slow and methodical and then I started becoming delirious. The next thing I knew the police officers were rubbing me and keeping me warm. If it wasn’t for them I would have died.” he said.

Mr Ashton was treated in hospital for exposure, exhaustion and dehydration but is now back at home, looking forward to Christmas.

PC Hunt said: “We are just pleased that Mr Ashton is OK and that we were in the right place at the right time, thanks to the call from the lady walking her dog who first saw him lying in the orchard.

PCSO Link added: “Being able to help was really rewarding. When we first found Mr Ashton he could barely talk but by the time he left in the ambulance to be checked over at Medway Maritime Hospital he was laughing and joking with us.”

Both officers have been nominated for an area commanders award for their efforts.

Mr Ashton can be heard on this recording.

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