A Newtown man who had a cardiac arrest while playing bowls has been reunited with the off-duty paramedic who saved his life.

When Terry Dury, 73, began having chest pains at a bowls competition in Aberhafesp, it was the quick-thinking actions of off-duty paramedic Sion Breese who helped save his life.

Terry was in the middle of competing when he first started experiencing discomfort. When the match finished, he went into cardiac arrest only a few moments later.

He said: “I’m usually pretty good at playing bowls, but my accuracy was all over the place.

“I remember feeling the discomfort in my chest, but I just kept playing.

“As soon as the game was finished, I sat down straight away, kicking my bowls under the chair and that was it.

“I don’t remember anything else, but I have been told I had turned blue and was clutching my chest, thrashing about and gasping for air.”

At the time, Sion Breese, paramedic and locality manager in North Powys at the Welsh Ambulance Service, had just finished his bowls game nearby.


Sion, who only started playing bowls three months before, said: “With the help of the bowls chairman Nick Jones, we managed to get Terry onto the floor.

“I immediately assessed him and started giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

“I phoned 999 and got Nick to locate the defibrillator and after one shock, Terry’s rhythm came back. 

“Nick was excellent in the situation. 

“Because I didn’t have my usual kit, the couple of minutes that we waited for Welsh Ambulances Service colleagues felt longer.”

Help arrived in the form one emergency ambulance, a duty operations manager and community first responder from the Welsh Ambulance Service, along with colleagues from the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service and Fire Service Co Responders.

Terry said: “I recall very little of the journey to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, but I do remember them asking if I was allergic to anything, with my response being ‘I’m allergic to hospitals’.

“I was transported on blue lights to the hospital, where they performed an angiogram.

“I’m not sure how, but I had somehow managed to tell the paramedics my phone password so they could call my partner Jenny, who was able to meet us in the hospital.”

After Terry’s angiogram, it was decided that he would need immediate intervention and was transported to the Broadgreen Liverpool Hospital to undergo a triple bypass.

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The father-of-two said: “I was told the risk of survival was slim, but I remember looking at the clock in the theatre which read 9:45am, and the surgery being complete by 2:15pm.

“I was sedated for hours and recovery was painful, but the hospital staff were fantastic.

“If Sion hadn’t swapped his shift to play that day, I’m not sure what would have happened.

“It was very strange as we were scheduled to play against each other for the next game.

“The determination he showed, without any equipment – just his knowledge saved me.

“People like Sion who work in the NHS and ambulance service are the salt of the earth.”

Terry remained in hospital for five days and has 12 weeks of rest before he can play bowls again, but that hasn’t stopped him from reuniting with Sion and cheering on his bowls team.

Sion said: “It was great to meet up with Terry again, and he looked very healthy for someone who had a cardiac arrest and triple bypass.

“I’ve also seen him supporting his bowls team.

“Since the emergency, plans have been made to run a defib and CPR awareness session for all the bowls clubs that attend the next competition.

“It will be a great opportunity to educate the players about the importance of early CPR and defibrillation.”

What to do when someone has a cardiac arrest 

When someone has a cardiac arrest, they collapse and become unresponsive.

They either stop breathing entirely, or they may take gasping or infrequent breaths for a few minutes, which can be misinterpreted as snoring.

If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, phone 999 immediately and start CPR.

The call handler will tell you exactly what to do, and if there is someone else at scene, instruct you to send them to the nearest identified defibrillator.

A defibrillator will deliver a controlled electric shock to try and get the heart beating normally again.