Keynsham cadets help to save marathon runner’s life

TWO Keynsham St John Ambulance cadets helped to save the life of a runner who collapsed during the London Marathon.

Volunteers Becky James and Matthew Cleave, both aged 17, were on duty at the event on April 21.

One of the runners – Richard Walker, executive chair of Iceland Foods – was close to the finish line when he collapsed with heatstroke.

Becky and Matthew, of Keynsham All Services Unit, were part of a team of first aiders who then leapt into action, helping to prevent what could have been a tragic outcome.

Heatstroke is caused by a failure in the brain to regulate the body’s temperature, meaning the body is unable to cool down – without fast action it can be fatal. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, confusion, and a body temperature over 40 Celsius.

Cadets Becky and Matthew showed composure under pressure to help Richard. And he was able to walk out of the treatment centre just two hours after collapsing, surrounded by his relieved family.

Richard hailed the volunteers as “absolute heroes” – and Becky and Matthew also received a tribute from St John Ambulance.

A spokesperson said: “We could not be prouder of the important work our volunteers do. Seeing Richard fit and well is a stark reminder of the lifesaving impact of first aid.

“Our volunteers, including our dedicated cadets, embody the spirit of community and compassion that is at the heart of St John Ambulance.”

The organisation said it hoped the London Marathon incident would remind the public of the importance of first-aid training and the difference it can make in emergencies.

“As Richard Walker’s story shows, heroes can emerge in the most unexpected moments, ready to make a life-changing difference.”

Last month, the Voice reported how Lily, another Keynsham cadet with St John Ambulance, saved the life of a customer who collapsed in the cafe where she was working. She performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) until parademics arrived.

For more information about St John Ambulance’s first-aid training, first-aid advice, or how to donate to the charity, go to

Pictured, Becky James and Matthew Cleave helping Richard Walker to recover from heatstroke at the London Marathon