Toni’s training helps her save a man’s life in north Suffolk

WHEN Toni Almond was out for a drive with a friend, little did she know what drama lay ahead.

But this week she was praised for showing a cool head in a crisis – after saving a man's life.

The drama began when the former art teacher was on her way to Mettingham and the car in front of them stopped abruptly, near the level crossing at Frederick's Road, Beccles.

The passenger jumped out and appealed for medical help from people in the cars behind.

Having received training in first aid as a Red Cross volunteer, Ms Almond was the first person to respond.

She said: 'He was shouting 'my grandfather is having a heart attack'.'

Her first aid knowledge kicked in and her first move was to get the victim out of the vehicle.

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'He was a really big man but I got him out of the car. He was purple and stone cold,' she said.

'I started pumping his heart and doing CPR until two paramedics arrived. They started using the defibrillator and put a tube down his throat to get oxygen into his chest while I carried on performing CPR.'

Several minutes passed with Ms Almond and the two paramedics all working on the man before they lifted him on to a stretcher and carried him to the ambulance to be taken to hospital.

Ms Almond, who lives at Monet Square in Gunton, said: 'I asked the paramedic if he was still alive and he said if he did live it would be because of me. He said I'd saved his life.'

The man was taken to James Paget University Hospital and transported by air to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

But although doctors there confirmed he had survived a heart attack, Ms Almond has been unable to find out his name or where he is from because of data protection laws.

A Red Cross spokesman praised Ms Almond for her reaction to the incident on January 28.

'We are very proud of Toni. She acted in a calm and professional way and her training certainly paid off.

'The British Red Cross helps people in crisis whoever and wherever they are.'

Ms Almond attributes her quick-thinking to the skills she has learned during two-and-a-half years as a volunteer – and she remains modest about her actions.

'I was in the right place at the right time and was able to help because of everything I have learned from the Red Cross,' she said.

Ms Almond previously taught at the Denes High School in Lowestoft, where she was head of special needs. Before that she was head of girls PE at Bungay High School.

She spends almost every day helping recently-discharged James Paget patients as part of the Red Cross's Home from Hospital programme. She also works one day a week in the hospital's A&E unit.

She said: 'I help patients who still need a bit of assistance with things like putting in their eye drops. I do their shopping for them and things like that.'

To find out about Red Cross first aid training centres visit

Do you know the man who Ms Almond saved in the incident on January 28? Contact us at The Journal, 147, London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB, ring us on 01502 525825 or e-mail: