01 February 2016
Bodyguard star Alexandra Burke visits Bristol cardiac arrest survivor
A Somerset woman whose heart stopped just minutes before a
performance of The Bodyguard in Bristol, has been visited by the
star of the show.
X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, the musical's leading actress,
met with Judith Mansfield (71) and her family at the Bristol Heart
Institute on Saturday afternoon (January 30).
And there was also an emotional reunion with the three St John
Ambulance volunteers who saved Judith's life.
Judith, from Highbridge, was at the Hippodrome with her
daughter, Bev Bishop, when she collapsed in her seat on Thursday
"There was no warning," said Bev. "Mum had been a bit puffed out
on the walk from the car park to the theatre, but she's asthmatic
and I didn't think it was anything unusual.
"Her cardiac arrest was completely out of the blue; we were in
our seats and one minute I was talking to mum, the next moment she
was out cold - it was terrifying."
Fortunately, Kristian Keyte - a St John Ambulance volunteer who
is currently training as a nurse at Weston General Hospital - was
on a night out and sitting nearby.
Kristian rushed to Judith's aid as soon as he realised she was
unwell, and started giving cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
He was swiftly joined by the St John Ambulance volunteers who
were on duty, providing first aid at the theatre - Craig Rankin and
While Kristian continued giving CPR and Steve prepared
equipment, Craig used the Hippodrome's portable defibrillator to
deliver the single life saving electric shock to Judith's heart
which revived her.
By the time the ambulance arrived and Judith was taken to the
Bristol Royal Infirmary, she was conscious and talking.
"So many people helped us - especially the St John Ambulance
volunteers. I can't thank them enough," Bev added.
"We are eternally grateful to everyone involved, and my mum was
treated with the utmost dignity and respect."
Judith was at the theatre for a post-birthday treat and doesn't
remember her cardiac arrest.
"I got to my seat in the front row of the Grand Circle, took my
coat off and the next thing I remember is coming round and people
asking me if I was ok," she said.
"These three St John Ambulance boys saved my life.
"If I hadn't gone to the theatre that evening and I'd been at
home when I had a cardiac arrest, I don't know what would've
"I'm very lucky to have been in the right place at the right
Alexandra Burke was delighted to meet Judith and her life savers
again at the Bristol Heart Institute - particularly as Saturday
night was her last performance in the city.
"I'm just so thankful that Judith is ok and it was lovely to
meet her," said Alexandra.
She has invited Judith and her family to see The Bodyguard, at a
later date during the tour, or come back to the Bristol Hippodrome
and see her in Sister Act, this September.
Craig Rankin has volunteered for St John Ambulance for eight
years and works as a paramedic with the South Western Ambulance
Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) in North Somerset.
"It's very rare to get an incident like this and it just goes to
show that if you get "hands-on", delivering CPR, and use a
defibrillator early the outcome can be so positive," said
"It's amazing that Judith was talking to us so quickly, on the
night, and it's lovely to see her recovering so well at the Bristol
For more information on St John Ambulance's work, including how
to become a volunteer and details of training for the public,
schools and businesses, visit www.sja.org.uk
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