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What to do if loved one collapses...

PUBLISHED: 14:52 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:01 07 July 2010

YOU'RE sitting at home or out shopping and your nearest and dearest collapses suddenly - would you know what to do?

Mother-of-four Alison Gibb thinks you should, because the critical minutes as you await the arrival of a first responder or ambulance could mean the difference between life and death for the victim.

YOU'RE sitting at home or out shopping and your nearest and dearest collapses suddenly - would you know what to do?

Mother-of-four Alison Gibb thinks you should, because the critical minutes as you await the arrival of a first responder or ambulance could mean the difference between life and death for the victim.

And next month she is organising the first of what she hopes will be a series of Heartstart training sessions for people living in a cluster of villages near Dereham.

Alison, who retired last year as a physiotherapist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, was prompted to set up the two-hour courses by an experience that she describes only as "a close encounter for myself". She said: "I knew enough about what do to, but I realised that a lot of people would not have that kind of knowledge. So many would have been in a desperate situation."

Heartstart courses are set up through the British Heart Foundation and cover emergencies such as stroke, choking or a heart attack.

"The idea is to instruct you how to cope in the minutes before a first responders or ambulance turns up," said Alison. "It is for everybody, all ages, because being in such a situation can happen to anybody. If the person affected is you, you're not going to be able to do anything yourself - you'll rely on your friends, your nearest and dearest."

The sessions being run by Alison will be for those who live in the Barnham Broom group of parishes, which include Garvestone, Reymerston, Whinburgh, Westfield, Cranworth, Southburgh and Hardingham.

The first session will take place at Hardingham Village Hall on Thursday, March 19 from 7pm to 9pm, and already several people have shown an interest in going along. There is no charge to attend, but Alison would welcome donations to cover hall hire and boost the funds of the heart foundation, and advance booking is essential. Future sessions will depend on demand.

Email Alison at mgibb2006@btinternet.com or write to her at Denmark House, Hardingham, Norwich, NR9 4EG to reserve a place on the March 19 course or if you are interested in attending future sessions.

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