Life saving incident at Calderbank Bowling Club

On Thursday 27 May 2021, Calderbank Bowling Club in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, was the scene of an incredible act of bravery and quick thinking.

80-year-old Tom Love was attending the club along with fellow members from Clarkston Bowling Club to enjoy a practice game with members of Calderbank BC. The two clubs had agreed to create a combined team to compete in the 2021 Lanarkshire Triples League and were keen to meet up for a friendly match before the league games commenced in June.

Whilst playing, Tom suddenly and with no warning signs collapsed onto the green. At that point, Angus Cameron, a Calderbank BC member, who was also playing and in close proximity to Tom went to his aid and initially placed him in the recovery position. Another nearby player, Ian Thomson of Calderbank BC, immediately dialled 999 to request an ambulance. On examination, Angus found Tom to be unresponsive, with no pulse or evidence of breathing whatsoever. The 999-controller advised that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should commence immediately.

Angus, without any hesitation, began attempting to resuscitate Tom by performing CPR on him. Whilst he did so, another member of the club retrieved the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the box located on the outside wall of the Community Hall situated next door to the bowling club. The defibrillator contacts were placed on Tom, as instructed by the AED, and Angus then activated the device and continued with more CPR. This continued for a further two repetitions.

After approximately 20 minutes, two ambulances arrived at the club and the paramedics relieved Angus and attended to Tom. Eventually, Tom was transferred to the ambulance and admitted to the University Hospital Monklands, Airdrie.

On speaking to understandably worried and destressed family members at the hospital, Tom had no recollection of what had taken place. Tom’s daughter, Jackie McCall, has informed us that following this incident he has had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) inserted and was released from hospital on Tuesday 15 June and is now recovering well from his ordeal. She said: “My dad was discharged in less than three weeks and is mostly independent. He is currently unable to drive as he awaits a hospital outpatient appointment, and his memory can be a bit fuzzy at times but thankfully he’s still here. 

“The men who saved my dad that night are a fantastic bunch. My mum and I have thanked them all personally. I believe this is the second time this has happened to Angus, who himself has a cardiac history but led the men that night into saving my dad. Not all superheroes wear capes.

“My dad has attended Clarkston Bowling Club since the incident, not to play but just to watch and socialise. I think it’s a great comfort for everyone to see him there and recovering well.”

Derek Dillon, Secretary of Calderbank Bowling Club, also added: “As a fellow member, I am extremely proud of the way in which Angus acted.

“He, without hesitation, went forward and took responsibility, when a lot of people panic and take a step backwards as they don’t know what to do or are scared to do anything in case they do something wrong. Also, everyone I have spoken to are full of admiration for what he did. Having spoken to Tom, he said is eternally grateful to Angus for saving his life.”

Bowls Scotland would like to wish Tom Love a speedy and healthy recovery from this traumatic incident and also commend Angus Cameron, husband of former Scottish internationalist Libby Cameron, for his undoubtedly life saving actions.

This remarkable story will no doubt trigger conversations within clubs around the need for AED and first aid training. This might be something that clubs already have in place, are beginning to discuss or have never considered. To help support our offering in this area, we would encourage all clubs to complete the following survey by Friday 20th August to allow us to gather more information: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9ZH2X6V.

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