Weston’s ‘Fantastic Four’ officially recognised for saving life of veteran Grice

PUBLISHED: 14:00 10 September 2020

From left to right Mike Young, Liv James, Tom Grice, Mela James and Jamie Whiting at Weston Rugby Club.Picture Peter Land.

From left to right Mike Young, Liv James, Tom Grice, Mela James and Jamie Whiting at Weston Rugby Club.Picture Peter Land.


During his service for Queen and country, Tom Grice was shot once and blown up twice and he also saw active service in Vietnam as a member of the British Armed Forces.

Grice has the scars to show from his active service – and he now has one more, underneath it is a small pacemaker, it’s a constant reminder that he owes his life to four members of Weston, a club defibrillator and a plastic cup.

Club chairman Peter Land said: “It was January 25, we were at home to Barnstaple in a top-of-the table clash, supporters were making their way outside to find their spot for kick-off.

“Tom was not at all happy that he had to drink his beer from one of the new recyclable pint pots that are now common place, so I bought him a fresh pint of beer in a glass and he simply keeled over.

“Tom was so lucky that our plastic cup caused his heart attack, I am not being glib or making light of the situation but had he suffered such an attack at home or in the street he might not be here.

“On hand we had Mike Young our club physio and a retired paramedic, Liv James a Critical Care Physiotherapist, Mela James an experienced critical care nurse and Jamie Whiting who had only just attended a recent club first aid course. We also had a clubhouse defibrillator.”

For those few moments time seemed non-existent as the fantastic four got to work and everyone inside the club was escorted outside.

“Tom was dead,” added Land. “The only way to keep him alive was to perform chest compressions and to keep the oxygen flowing to his brain whilst waiting for paramedics.

“They did this with such success that attending paramedics immediately recognised that they gave Tom the fighting chance he needed. The hospital repeated later that Tom owed his life to them.”

Young, who is now 70 and the club’s physio, said that in all of his service “I can only recall bringing one person back. To be at a rugby club and to have had all these people and the defibrillator to hand, Tom was a lucky man.”

Land decided that their efforts should not go unrecognised so he wrote to the Royal Humane Society and they agreed with him.

He added: “The pandemic delayed things and I wanted to make sure that others at the club knew what they did, so I waited for the moment when I knew there would be people at the club.

“I called Tom and asked if he would present them with their certificates. They had not seen him since he left the club for hospital and had no idea he was here. The look on their faces and their reaction was priceless.”

Grice explained to all those in the room that these four people saved his life and he repeated the value of having defibrillators in every club.

He recalled Liv visiting him in hospital and the positive effect that it had on him and that Liv then made sure that one of her colleagues visited him everyday.

And he summed it all up by saying: “Without them I would not be here.”

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