showcasing local businesses, charities, news & events

Couple pledge to make CPR training an annual event after near-death drama during fire at their home

Winchcombe Farm, Upper Tysoe, Gill Cleeve, CPR training

A south Warwickshire coupled who became campaigners for CPR following a major fire at their home, have hailed their community first aid training day a huge success.

In January Steve Taylor, 64, collapsed while trying to contain a blaze at Winchcombe Farm, a holiday retreat he runs with his wife Jo Carroll in Upper Tysoe.

Steve was recently reunited with the firefighter who managed to resuscitate him after administering CPR at the scene for more than 20 minutes while the blaze was still raging.

Everyone gathered at Tysoe Social Club. Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

Now the father of two is continuing his recovery at home after undergoing a triple heart bypass and having a defibrillator fitted in his heart. He’s gone on to become an advocate for the UK Resuscitation Council, helping to raise awareness of the importance of everyone learning life-saving CPR skills.

Some 28 members of the community joined Winchcombe staff for the event, hosted by Gill Cleeve of Brookvale First Aid. It also marked the unveiling of a new defibrillator on the Winchcombe Farm Holidays site, the second in the village. There is also one at the old fire station.

Gill, who also became Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this month, said: “CPR training is so valuable to a community, it will give people, the knowledge and confidence to step in and help if the worst should happen. This is why I’m always delighted to be asked to train community groups.

“Training doesn’t take long, but it can have a lifelong impact on someone’s life. Without CPR the person will die within minutes and the chances of survival will get lower the longer it takes someone to help.

“Every year in the UK, NHS Ambulance Services attempt resuscitation in approximately 30,000 people. Most of cardiac arrests occur in the home (approx 80%) or in the workplace (approx 15%).

Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, Gill Cleeve
The CPR training day in full swing
Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, Gill Cleeve
Gill Cleeve with the training manikin

Steve Taylor, owner of Winchcombe Farm Holidays, said: “Gill very kindly offered to run this training course for us, after she heard how CPR saved my life. We threw the invitation open to everyone in our village and are thrilled that so many people wanted to join us.

“Less than 1 in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the UK survive. By training our community in life saving skills, if the worst happens, they’ll be there to give someone the best possible chance of survival.”

While bystander CPR is attempted in 7 out of 10 cases, using a public access defibrillator is reported as being used in less than 1 in 10.

A cardiac arrest happens when there’s a problem with the heart’s rhythm, meaning it stops oxygenated blood from pumping around the body. This will lead the person to collapse, stop breathing and become unconscious.

The family of four is still counting the cost of the blaze which was started by an ember from their log burner. They are now living in temporary accommodation in one of their guest lodges while the repairs on their home continue.

Jo said: “Gill is just the most fabulous trainer and took all the fear away from administering CPR, if ever you find yourself in the situation where it is needed. She covered everything you could possibly need to know to help save a life of someone in cardiac arrest, including how to use a defibrillator.

“It was such a success, and there is so much demand from the local community to learn these skills, we are hoping to make it an annual event.”

Visit Brookvale First Aid here

Visit Winchcombe Farm Holidays here

Winchcombe Farm, CPR training, Gill Cleeve

Winchcombe Farm is an idyllic five-star boutique holiday retreat on the Warwickshire and Cotswolds border.

The remote family-run retreat nestles on a private estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and beneath the famous battlefield landmark of Edgehill. It’s an oasis of tranquillity with just sheep, chickens, moorhens, ducks, ponies and alpacas for company.

Designed with outdoor living in mind, this unique collection of six beautiful holiday homes – includes Warwickshire’s only treehouse – offering the height of luxury and nestling in four sycamore and ash trees – three of them growing through the outside deck and one even growing through the kitchen!

Luxury features range from private hot tubs, hanging chairs, hammocks and outside shower, to barbecue shed, pizza oven, BBQ hut, firepit for toasting marshmallows and even geodesic domes with king size circular bed plus personal telescopes for a spot of stargazing! Guests even receive a welcome hamper on arrival to start their holiday in style.

Inside, the properties are well equipped with all the latest technology including 55-inch SMART TV and DVD and, in the kitchen, a range on lush josephjoseph and SMEG accessories plus all the mod cons.