Published: 05 March 2024

A North Wales family has shown their appreciation to the Wales Air Ambulance by raising nearly £2,000 for its cause.

Former Wales Air Ambulance patient Sheila Breeds’ life was saved in May 2021, after she suffered a brain haemorrhage at the beach which resulted in her falling face down into the sea and nearly drowning.

Sheila, from Criccieth, wanted to try out a new wet suit so decided to go for a swim close to home whilst her husband Oliver Schick went to play golf.

Fortunately for Sheila, a family who were visiting the area from Wrexham witnessed what happened.

Kathy Clutton, Neil Dobie and their sons Myles and Harris were waiting to go down on the beach when the boys alerted their father to what had happened to Sheila. Neil, with the help of some others, then dragged Sheila up the steps to the lower promenade.

Neil gave Sheila CPR while Kathy screamed for help. They and a few other people, including Sheila’s near neighbour Rich Wilcock, continued CPR for 20 minutes until the Wales Air Ambulance arrived.

Oliver said: “The medics used the defibrillator on Sheila whilst Jon the pilot was running to and from the helicopter to fetch kit – stretcher and all other manner of things.  Jon had landed the helicopter on a sixpence near the West Parade car park to be as close as possible.

“After an unbelievable 40 minutes of heart stoppage, they finally got her going again and flew her to Ysbyty Gwynedd.”

Following Shelia’s brain haemorrhage she remained in a critical condition for ten days and her prognosis was poor.

Miraculously she came round but then the haemorrhage bled again and she was “blue lighted” to the Walton Centre in Liverpool where she had an emergency coiling procedure.  

Sheila’s recovery was slow, and she later underwent another operation. A year on from nearly losing her life, Sheila was discharged home.

To show their appreciation to the charity for its ‘excellent service and attention’ the family decided to fundraise. A Christmas appeal was set up and all the friends and people who ‘supported them during their worst times’ donated to the cause.

Oliver continued: “We raised nearly £2,000, but a life is worth one hell of a lot more than that! We will endeavour to make 2024 a red-letter year and will continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance and encourage everyone to learn basic first aid.”

The family would like to thank everyone who helped save Sheila’s life and everyone who played their part in her continued recovery.

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery. 

It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.