Wife ‘forever in debt’ to those who saved heart-attack rugby player

THE wife of a rugby player who suffered a heart attack on the pitch says she will be forever in debt to the people who saved his life.

Players from both sides tried to resuscitate Allan Turpie after he stopped breathing during Ely Tigers’ cup match against Shelford III on April 7.

An air ambulance landed on the Great Shelford pitch and a doctor was able to restart the father-of-two’s heart with a defibrillator.

Mr Turpie, who lives in Chatteris, was in a life-threatening condition when he arrived at hospital - but he is now well on the road to recovery.

Wife Julie Turpie said: “Allan is now home and doing really well and I have no doubt he will continue to do so.”

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The 45-year-old, a hooker for Ely Tigers, has no recollection of what happened and Mrs Turpie said he couldn’t even remember driving to the game.

She said: “As a family, no words can express how thankful and grateful we are to Duncan Forteath, Lewis Harvey, Simon Curry (Ely Rugby Club) and David Hatter (Shelford Rugby Club).

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“They acted immediately and started CPR as soon as they realised that Allan was not breathing, and then continued until the paramedics and doctor arrived to take over.

“Their actions on that day were truly amazing and we will be forever in their debt.

“Our thanks also go out to all the staff at Papworth Hospital, who were amazing from the minute Allan arrived there, not only to Allan, but to the family too.

“We would also like to thank everyone for the support we have received as a family. Everyone’s well wishes really have kept us all going at this awful time.”

Mark Mitzman, President of Ely Tigers Rugby Club, praised the four men who began to treat Mr Turpie after he had collapsed.

He said: “I think adrenaline kicks in when you’re dealing with a situation like that. They were shocked at what they had to do but they knew they had to do it.

“You can only hope that if you’re faced with that situation yourself, you’re astute and alert enough to deal with it.

“Between the four of them, they saved his life.”

The rugby club will host a special sevens tournament on May 12, with 26 teams, including one from Saracens Academy, set to compete. All money raised will be donated to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, which flew to Mr Turpie’s rescue.

Mr Mitzman added: “We wish Allan a speedy recovery and we are hoping that he and his family will be able to join us at our end of season dinner this month.”

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