NEWS: “I’m ready to celebrate Christmas,” tells cardiac arrest car crash victim to life saving off duty Erdington paramedics

Words by Ed King / Photographs supplied by WMAS (group photo, left to right: Abi Conlin, Roy Taylor, Colin Cady, Bea Cady, Grace Harris, Maria Johnson)

On the run up to Christmas, two off duty Erdington paramedics have been reunited with a man whose life they saved after he suffered a potentially fatal cardiac arrest.

In October, Colin Cady was driving through Sutton Coldfield when his heart stopped pumping – forcing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a tree.

Luckily, off-duty Erdington paramedics Maria Johnson and Roy Taylor were passing at the time of the accident and immediately rushed to Colin’s aid – administering essential cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and roadside assistance until an ambulance arrived.

Now just days away from 25 December, Mr Cady was reunited with the lifesaving duo – wanting to thank them for helping him survive the ordeal and giving him the chance to celebrate another Christmas with his family.

Mr Cady told: “There really are no words to say thank you to those who saved my life that day. I count myself incredibly lucky that multiple off-duty emergency service staff were there at that moment, and that they came over to help me.

“Thanks to their actions, I’ve been able to celebrate my 53rd birthday recently and I’m ready to celebrate Christmas this year, one that I wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for the fantastic work of the emergency services staff and staff caring for me in hospital.”

As defined by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), a cardiac arrest is when the ‘heart stops pumping blood’ and the ‘brain is starved of oxygen’ – causing the victim ‘to fall unconscious and stop breathing.’

Early CPR can be pivotal in keeping someone in cardiac arrest alive, with the BHF further stating: ‘In the UK there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) a year… just 1 in 10 people survive. Early CPR and defibrillation can double the chances of surviving an OHCA.’

After witnessing the car crash, Maria Johnson and Roy Taylor rushed to Mr Cady’s aid – using both their medical training and a nearby Public Access Defibrillator to keep him alive whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Maria Johnson said: “It’s lovely to see Colin under such positive circumstances. It’s also such an important moment to appreciate just how fantastic bystander CPR and AEDs are.

“In this case we were able to assist with saving a patient’s life, not as ambulance staff but as bystanders, which is something that anyone with good CPR knowledge could do.”

Roy Taylor added: “While passing by and witnessing the incident, it was natural to go over and see if I could help at all, then seeing Maria there too was an incredible stroke of luck.

“Maria and I know each other well and have years of experience behind us so we both went into autopilot and tried to help Colin to the best of our ability while an ambulance was being called.”

On Wednesday 21 December, thousands of ambulance staff across the UK were involved in industrial action over rates of pay and working conditions – with the government refusing to engage in negotiations.

Despite the mass strikes, according to West Midlands Ambulance Servive ‘staff were left working to respond to respond to the most urgent calls such as cardiac arrests and other very serious cases such as heart attacks, strokes, difficulty in breathing and maternity cases.’

Some healthcare trusts and unions have scheduled further strike for 28 December and January 2023.

What is cardiac arrest? – British Heart Foundation

To learn more about cardiac arrest and CPR from the British Heart Foundation visit:   

For more from West Midlands Ambulance Service visit:

NEWS: Workers at GKN Chester Road factory vote ‘yes’ on redundancy package

Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by Unite, Jack Dromey MP, Google Street View

Workers at the GKN Chester Road factory have voted ‘yes’ to a redundancy package offered by GKN’s owners, Melrose PLC.

After months of fighting the factory’s closure, including the threat of industrial action in September, the 500 plus workforce have now agreed to take the severance pay.

Referring to the Chester Road closure as a “betrayal of a highly skilled workforce”, a statement from Unite the Union told how workers at the GKN Chester Road plant had “little option but to accept a redundancy scheme offered by GKN Melrose after the company refused to reconsider the union’s plan to save the plant despite the government’s request for it to do so.”

Melrose PLC announced their plans to close the Chester Road plant in January 2021, which would see the loss of 519 jobs and major disruption to the local automotive supply chain – GKN Chester Road are a significant supplier to the neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover factory.

Following intervention from Unite the Union, Jack Dromey MP for Erdington, Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward, and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Melrose eventually entered discussions to explore another possibility to the closure.

However, Erdington Local learned the multi-million pound venture capitalists took only a matter of minutes to reject any alternative plans – committing to the Chester Road closure and sealing the fate of over 500 workers.

A further vote was then passed by Chester Road workers to accept the redundancy package from Melrose PLC.

Following the announcement workers would be taking ‘a negotiated redundancy package’, Jack Dromey MP for Erdington said:

“What cannot now be allowed to happen is for the plant and the 519 strong workforce to be thrown on the scrapheap.

“This plant is a site of British manufacturing excellence with a world-class manufacturing capability. The skill and experience of the workforce is irreplaceable and the envy of many in the industry.

“It is utterly shameful that GKN/Melrose have chosen to close the plant and turn their back on this loyal workforce. The loss of 519 good, well-paid jobs in an area of high deprivation – the fifth most deprived constituency in the country – will be a hammer blow.”

“The closure of the plant by GKN/Melrose is a betrayal of the British national interest.

“Never again can our manufacturing base be left so exposed to the greed and short-termism of private equity-style firms who have no interest in the long-term strategic interests of the British automotive industry.

“While the company have chosen to walk away, I firmly believe that the Chester Road site can have a bright future through an alternative use being found.

“I will continue to work closely with the workers’ union, Unite, the Government, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the Leader of Birmingham City Council to explore this option.

“The workers can be assured of my unrelenting support to leave no stone unturned to keep production going and protect manufacturing in the West Midlands.”

Unite national officer Des Quinn added: “For 10 months our members at GKN have fought hard to save this plant but it is apparent that GKN Melrose was never prepared to reconsider its original decision.

“Having failed to get Melrose to change its mind, the government must not fail the GKN workers again.

“The government must play a dynamic role in finding a company to take over Chester Road and save as many jobs as possible in the process because these are the skills our country needs if we’re to step up to the demands of climate action.”

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit
For more from Unite the Union visit
For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit