Remembrance Sunday: Standard bearer taken to hospital after cardiac arrest during parade in Bishop's Stortford
A standard bearer was taken to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during the Remembrance Sunday parade in Bishop's Stortford.
A defibrillator on one of the two Stortford fire engines that were parked nearby was used on Arthur King, who is in his 70s, as he lay in the street.
Standards were used to form a makeshift screen before a tarpaulin was erected to give some privacy to the stricken veteran, a member of the Royal British Legion's Bishop's Stortford branch.
Firefighters, police and community first aiders who were attending the parade and service as representatives of their organisations were joined by paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service.
An off-duty Stansted firefighter, off-duty paramedic, PCSO and two Army cadets were among those singled out for going to Mr King's aid by witnesses, who described the scene variously as "distressing", "heartbreaking" and "awful".
According to former county, district and town councillor Colin Woodward, who laid a wreath at the service on behalf of Herts Fire and Rescue Service, Mr King's condition had stabilised and he was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. He posted on Facebook: "He is stable and taken to PAH. Well done to quick aid given and Herts Fire from BS with their defib."
Mr King, who has been a standard bearer for the Legion's Stortford branch for many years, was taken ill at about 10.45am as the parade made its way from its assembly point in the Link Road car park to the war memorial in Castle Gardens.
He was carrying the Union Jack at the head of the procession, behind the band of the 309 (Sawbridgeworth) squadron of the RAF Air Cadets.
Mr King, who is married and lives in Saffron Walden, had attended the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday and the Armistice Day ceremony at the war memorial in Bishop's Stortford on Thursday.
Heidi Barden, a member of the Legion's Stortford branch committee, posted on Facebook: "Our thoughts are with our standard bearer Arthur and his family after he was taken ill at the Remembrance parade this morning. Huge thanks to the emergency services and all involved in his care. We will update as soon as we know more."
The Legion's Stortford branch Poppy Appeal organiser Denise Hudson said: "Arthur has been our standard bearer for many years and has been a familiar figure collecting at Thorley Sainsbury's for the Poppy Appeal also for many years."
Branch chairman Paul Vile said: "A few people at the Sawbridgeworth service [on Sunday afternoon] were asking after him as they had heard on the grapevine."
Members of various uniformed services went to Mr King's aid and their actions were praised on Facebook.
Joanne Bird, who was with her husband, off-duty Stansted firefighter Graham Child, watching their son in his first parade, said: "So very proud of my husband and an off-duty paramedic who helped this gentleman before the defibrillator arrived. We live in an amazing community."
Bill Stokoe said: "Big thanks also to a very young PCSO, Lucy Townsend, who was standing next to Arthur when he collapsed. She dealt with the situation amazingly. Well done, Lucy!"
Stortford Legion women's section standard bearer Alison Mitchell said: "Our parade was a little disjointed as Arthur fell ill, however, as a fellow standard bearer, may I pay tribute to all the services that attended so quickly. Everyone responded with much efficiency and professionalism. I would like to say a special thank you to my two Army cadet banner bearers who helped at the scene."
Spectator Karen Crouch said: "The gentleman collapsed directly in front of us and it was extremely distressing for everyone. Very quick action was taken, thank goodness. Well done to the organisers, who formed a very quick plan to give the gentleman privacy at such a time."
Barry Argent said: "My girlfriend and I turned round to see him on the ground but people attending. A sad moment but very well managed."
Indie photographer Vikki Lince, who was covering the parade and service, said: "The response was incredible. All the standards from the parade were collected and used as a barrier while Arthur was being worked on until the tarpaulins could be put up for privacy."