Be the Difference - Alan's story

It was 12 July 1998 and I was watching the Football World Cup final between France and Brazil in The Strangford Arms. At half time we all had nibbles, laid on by the hotel.

It was just into the second half of the game when I noticed a guy at the next table was making twitching movements and he looked a bit distressed. I put my hand on his shoulder and asked him if he was ok. When he turned towards me he was blue. He wasn't breathing and couldn't talk.

With nothing obviously visible I stood him up and lent him forward, hitting him with a sharp blow between the shoulder blades with the heel of my hand. Nothing changed so I hit him with a second blow between the shoulder blades. Still nothing happened. On the third blow, a piece of sausage roll propelled from his mouth and he began to take in big gasps of air.

I told him to have a few sips of water and on his return from getting a drink of water he jokingly said, "I will feel that on my back tomorrow", and I jokingly replied, "At least you will be alive tomorrow."

This just emphasises that everyone, young and old, should learn first aid and be the difference.

- Alan Petticrew.