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Heartbeat driver honours lifesavers

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A train driver who suffered a serious heart attack whilst at the controls of his train in Yorkshire has organised a Europe-wide fund raiser for two charities. David Graham could have died had it not been for a hen- party of nurses on the train and prompt action by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

A seven-strong team of conductors and drivers from TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains and Northern Rail, all based at Liverpool Lime Street Station, took part in a gruelling 63-hour charity train journey across Europe to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the British Heart Foundation.

Stephen Walker (TPE), David Graham (TPE), Stephen Ward (Virgin Trains), Paul Fletcher (Northern) Andrew Iles (TPE), Marc Wood (TPE), Stephen Gamble (Northern) travelled from Liverpool Lime Street to Paris, Munich, Venice, Milan, Zurich, Basel, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, raising a grand total of £9,650.

TPE train driver, David Graham, organised the challenge in support of both charities after each played such a vital part in his rescue and recovery after he suffered a dramatic, near fatal, heart attack when driving a train between Liverpool and Scarborough back in 2012.

David was 20 minutes into a journey from Scarborough to Liverpool when he began experiencing severe chest pains and lost consciousness on a remote stretch of track near Malton in North Yorkshire. David managed to bring his train to a halt in a safe place, after which the conductor discovered David and raised the alarm. Following an on-board announcement, a group of Royal Preston Hospital nurses returning from a hen party came to David’s rescue, treating him on the floor of his cab and calling in the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who took over at the scene and airlifted David to Hull Royal Infirmary.

Last month, the group were invited to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Nostell Air Support Unit to formally hand over cheques to both charities. The group posed for photographs alongside the crew of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter with Hayley Gough, British Heart Foundation fundraising manager.

Says David Graham, ‘I will be forever grateful to both charities for the part they played in both my rescue and recovery. My colleagues and I have raised nearly £10,000 for both charities, exceeding our original target of £8,000. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those that donated to our challenge in support of these two very worthy causes.’