A cyclist who went into cardiac arrest during a charity ride has praised the “stunningly brilliant” team of doctors pedalling behind him who restarted his heart and ultimately saved his life.

David Graney from Salisbury collapsed during the London to Brighton bike ride earlier this month – but luckily for him, a team of 30 children’s specialists from St George’s Hospital, taking on the challenge for St George’s Hospital Charity, was travelling not far behind.

David said: “The doctors from St George’s who stopped to save me are stunningly brilliant. I am eternally grateful to the team for doing what they did, I owe them my life.”

After spotting David fall off his bike, they sprang into action and performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) until paramedics arrived.

“I don’t remember collapsing – but my last recollection is overtaking my cycling partner halfway up Ditchling Beacon, towards the end of the ride just before Brighton”. He has since been filled in on the series of events.

After going into cardiac arrest, the team from St George’s was there in “less than ten seconds” and “all over him like a rash” performing CPR, his cycling partner told him.

CPR is a life-saving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR, like the team from St George’s provided, significantly improves recipients’ chances of survival. Anyone can give CPR, and advice on how to do so can be found on the NHS website.

David – who was raising funds in memory of his son, Nicholas, who sadly died aged 10 – was driven to the top of Ditchling Beacon, seven miles north of Brighton, by an on-site paramedic, before being airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. There he had an angiogram, and it was found that he had restricted flow to his heart, which is what caused it to stop. The very next morning the team at the Royal Sussex County Hospital fitted him with a stent to open the blood flow to his heart.

David is now back home and recovering with the help of his two other sons, his partner, and his sister-in-law. He’s taking time off from his busy schedule being a freelance furniture design and manufacturer’s agent, but his doctor expects him to make a full recovery, with thanks to the team of St George’s doctors for acting so quickly.

Dr Nick Prince, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, and Dr Thomas Breen, Consultant Anaesthetist, performed the CPR, and were part of a team raising money for St George’s Hospital Charity’s Time for a Change Appeal.

Dr Nick Prince said: “It was a privilege to be there when David needed us, and certainly very fortunate timing. That single moment when his heart responded and started beating again made the whole day worthwhile. We are so pleased to hear he is home and doing well.

“It was a phenomenal response from first responders, ambulance teams, our hospital cycling team, and the air ambulance all together.

“We were cycling for St George’s Hospital Charity Children’s Appeal To know that David was cycling for Child Bereavement UK in honour of his son is incredibly moving.”

David’s son passed away 25 years ago and the impact on his family was profound. David has since made it his mission to support families going through similar experiences by supporting Child Bereavement UK in this cycle, and previously Shine, a charity that supports families with children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the latter being the condition his son Nicholas had.

The team of doctors from St George’s was among 85 cyclists taking part in the London to Brighton ride to raise funds for St George’s Hospital Charity’s Time for a Change Appeal, which aims to transform children’s services at St George’s Hospital.

David said: “I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for the team at St George’s, they saved my life and I will do anything I can to thank them. To say that I am eternally grateful is a massive understatement”.

Molly Simpson, St George’s Hospital Charity Senior Public Fundraising Manager, said: “Our team’s participation in the London to Brighton ride last week was nothing short of heroic. We are already so proud of them for taking time outside of work to get together, train, fundraise and participate in this event. Little did we know their life-saving skills would be put to use en route. They are truly an inspiration to us all.”

St George’s Hospital children’s services are rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with more than 130,000 visits from children every year.

An upcoming NHS England consultation into where children’s cancer services should be located in the future means that St George’s could lose the service it has jointly run with the Royal Marsden Hospital for more than 25 years.

St George’s urges members of the public to share their views on the consultation. Find out more here: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/news/kids-deserve-st-georges/

Notes to editors

St George’s Hospital Charity Time for a Change Appeal

Help the charity raise £5 million by 2024 to transform children’s services at St George’s. Find out more www.timeforachange.org.uk

You can continue to donate and support the team from St George’s with fundraising efforts for the London to Brighton ride by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/team/teampaediatrics2023

Support David Graney’s fundraiser:

This September marks the 25th anniversary of the death of David’s son, Nicholas. He’s raising funds for Child Bereavement UK. To support him, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/david-graney-1679913861034

NHS advice on giving CPR