Survivor of heart attack flags importance of defibrillators after collapse at Nidderdale Church

Rod Goodall was attending the service at St Chads Church in Middlesmoor
Rod Goodall was attending the service at St Chads Church in Middlesmoor

The survivor of a heart attack has spoken out about the importance of defibrillators in remote areas like Nidderdale after his life was saved minutes before a funeral service was set to begin.

Rod Goodall was attending the service at St Chad’s Church in Middlesmoor when he collapsed at the back of the church in December.

Three people rushed to his aid, performing CPR and shocking him three times with a defibrillator, stored at Middlesmoor Village Hall, helping him survive until an air ambulance could transport him to Leeds General Infirmary.

After undergoing a quadruple bypass Mr Goodall is now preparing to begin his rehabilitation at Ripon Community Hospital. Paying tribute to those who came to his aid and the fundraising carried out for the Village Hall defibrillator he says ‘he doesn’t know if he would have survived’ without them.

He said: “I do not remember much of what happened, walking up the hill to the church and going inside, but nothing else until I woke up in Leeds.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the defibrillator being there and it’s as simple as that, if it had happened anywhere else I don’t know how I would have survived.

“It’s important to have these in place and where people know they can get to them. At the same time, people need to be trained in first aid and how to use the defibrillators.”

Emily Challis, alongside a mid-wife and paramedic at the service, helped to save Mr Goodall. The Duty Manager at Knaresborough Pool says she hopes the ‘indescribable’ moment will encourage others seek training and become comfortable with using a defibrillator.

She said: “It was just one of those moments that was indescribable but I think it showed how important it is for people to know what to do. Ambulances can take so long in Nidderdale and you can end up waiting a long time.

It’s a life changing experience to give someone a second chance, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the defibrillator and the people from around the community who stepped in.
“It could have easily gone the other way and its amazing to have seen someone who looked so poorly out walking around, spending Christmas with their family and not having to say goodbye.”

Just over a year prior to this a committee of residents had been able to raise funds for the defibrillator, alongside others at Ramsgill and Lofthouse.
The fundraising was led by Emily’s own mum, Joy Challis, raising the £1,600 for each one. She was also at the funeral where she watched Emily rush to Mr Goodall’s aid.

She said: “While it originally started off as fund-raising events by two couples we sent off letters to residents and were just inundated by donations. It was originally enough money for one but it just continued to come in. The Parish Council gave us £100 towards the defibrillators and purchased them for us.”

“To see them used, especially at a funeral, is incredible. People called for someone to help, and with Emily being trauma trained with the others she saved his life.
I think all in all everyone was in the right place at the right time.”