Simon Mason, who runs the Prince Llewelyn in Cilmery, held a CPR training event in the pub last Wednesday, November 21, so that the whole community could learn lifesaving skills.

The session, which was run by British Heart Foundation Cymru, saw almost 100 people attend to learn vital first aid.

Mr Mason helped save the life of his friend and neighbour Richard Barrett, after Mr Barrett had a cardiac arrest at home in April. His ability to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) saved Mr Barrett’s life.

Mr Barrett, who was experiencing discomfort during the day and thought he was just suffering from indigestion, collapsed at home one evening and stopped breathing. His partner Judith immediately called 999 and then called their friend and neighbour, Simon Mason who runs the Prince Llewelyn pub in the village.

Mr Mason had learnt CPR years before as a sea cadet, and quickly took action even though Mr Barrett was unconscious and wasn’t breathing. Mr Mason performed CPR on Mr Barrett for more than 45 minutes until paramedics arrived and took over.

CPR training night hosts, Simon and Alison Mason (left) with Richard Barrett and his partner Judith Morgan.

Mr Barrett spent almost two months in hospital after his cardiac arrest. He had a procedure to fit one stent and a defibrillator inserted into his heart, and now takes medication daily.

Mr Mason said: “It was incredibly scary and emotional finding my friend not breathing and unresponsive but I just knew I had to help him. I remembered my CPR training even though it had been a long time ago and I just kept going until the paramedics arrived.

“It made me realise what a vital life skill being trained in CPR is and I think everyone should learn it, so I decided to organise this event. BHF Cymru was happy to support it and help us with the training. Living in a rural community means having the ability and confidence to know CPR is vital as it can take time for the emergency services to arrive. I’m really pleased so many people came out tonight to learn it.”

Mr Barrett said: “There’s been a great response to Simon’s event, with the whole community taking part. I know that without Simon’s quick action I may not be here today. It’s so important that more people learn CPR so that more lives can be saved.

“Hopefully everyone in the village now feels confident that they have the knowledge and skills to save a life, because you never know when you’re going to need it.”

Jayne Lewis, BHF Cymru’s fundraising manager for Mid and West Wales, said: “I am delighted to be able to support this event. The more people who learn CPR means potentially more lives can be saved, and it was great to see such a fantastic turn out from the community of Cilmery. I’d like to thank Simon and Richard for raising awareness of the importance of learning CPR and for giving their friends and neighbours the chance to learn it here tonight.”

Adam Fletcher, head of BHF Cymru, said: “You may not feel confident performing CPR if you haven’t been trained or you don’t remember your training; but without your early action the chances someone will survive a cardiac arrest is virtually zero. The BHF is striving to improve survival rates by creating a Nation of Lifesavers through our CPR training programmes.”

BHF Cymru’s Call Push Rescue CPR training kits are available in Welsh and English and are free to eligible Welsh secondary schools. They are also available to order by community groups and workplaces. For more information visit: