A Cambridgeshire police officer has been praised for delivering life saving CPR to a man while out on a run. 

PC Hannah Wheatley headed off on an early morning run around Burghley House near Stamford, a route she would frequent most weekends as part of her training for the London marathon., in January last year. 

As she laced up her trainers and set off along the frost-covered pavements around the historic 16th Century mansion, she noticed a crowd of people ahead.

They seemed concerned and there was an air of panic, so she stopped to ask if they were ok.

It soon became apparent a man had collapsed and was unresponsive.

Without a second thought, PC Wheatley’s police first aid training kicked in and she carried out CPR for more than 20 minutes until help arrived.

Paramedics used a defibrillator to stabilise 76-year-old Brian Kinealy enough to transport him to hospital. It was touch and go as to whether he would make it, but thankfully he did.

In Brian’s hospital discharge notes, it commended the excellent care and CPR he had received before reaching hospital. 

Hannah was presented with a Royal Humane Society award at a force awards ceremony at Hinchingbrooke School earlier this month (16 May) and Brian was there to watch her receive it.

“I could feel Brian’s ribs breaking”

Looking back on that fateful day, PC Wheately said: “I didn’t have time to think, all I knew was Brian needed help. I knew it would take quite a time for the ambulance to arrive because of the rural location, so I had to keep going – his life was in my hands.

“In the days that followed, Brian was on my mind constantly and I kept wondering whether I’d done enough and whether he would pull through.

"I left my details at the hospital and a week or so later Brian’s wife Linda contacted me and made me aware that he was recovering well, which was such a huge relief.

“In the April that year we met for the first time after the family invited me to lunch for Brian’s birthday. It was an emotional meeting, but it was so nice to learn more about Brian and his family.

The Hunts Post: Hannah was presented with a Royal Humane Society award at a force awards ceremony.Hannah was presented with a Royal Humane Society award at a force awards ceremony. (Image: Cambridgeshire Police)

She added: “This was the first time I’d ever used my CPR training in real life. Every year we have our training and I think to myself, ‘I wonder whether I’d be able to do this on a real person.’

"On that day I just went into autopilot with the skills I’d learned. While performing the compressions I could feel Brian’s ribs breaking, it was a horrible sensation that made me want to stop as I didn’t want to hurt him, but from my training and talking to colleagues who have performed CPR, I knew this was quite normal.

“I felt I just did what anyone else would do in that situation so I was truly humbled to be nominated for an award, and having Brian there to watch me receive it made it all the sweeter.”

“I am forever grateful she was there that day”

Brian, who is now 78, said: “I don’t remember a great deal about that day. I’d gone out on a morning walk as I often do and I know from looking back at my phone that I’d taken some photographs of the frost-covered trees.

“I was on my own and I know I must’ve walked up the hill towards Burghley House at quite a pace, but I really can’t remember anything else.

“I never had any prior warnings that anything was wrong, I’d never suffered any heart issues before and I didn’t even have so much as a cough.

He added: “I cannot thank Hannah enough or speak highly enough of her courage to put herself forward to save my life. I know it’s not quite the same experience as tackling a knife-wielding criminal, but having someone’s life in your hands is enormous, and it can be really traumatising for the person involved.

“She gave me the best care and apart from a couple of broken ribs – which is to be expected during CPR – I made a full recovery.

“I’d also like to thank her fellow colleagues, who showed great kindness and empathy when they collected my wife and daughter from my house and rushed them to Peterborough City Hospital to be with me.

“Since my ordeal it has been so lovely to get to know Hannah and her family and I was thrilled to be able to watch her receive her very well-deserved award last week. She is a wonderful person and I am forever grateful she was there that day.”