Lancaster woman’s life saved at train station by rugby team

Greg Nicholls in action for for Fylde.
Greg Nicholls in action for for Fylde.
Share this article

A Lancaster woman who collapsed and stopped breathing at a railway station was saved by members of a rugby team on their way to a match.

The Fylde medical team rushed to the aid of 65-year-old Wilma Hill, who collapsed at Preston station.

The trio were part of the Fylde squad making the journey to London for a match at Richmond when they administered vital resuscitation procedures on the stricken woman.

Scrum half Greg Nicholls was among those who helped Mrs Hill, who was due to board the same train as the team.

She had stopped breathing when Greg responded to a plea for help from Virgin trains staff.

Former Premiership star Greg said: ”The woman had collapsed and was unresponsive. She had no pulse and was not breathing.”

“With the help of our club physios I started cardiac massage.

“It’s lucky we had all our equipment there when it happened.

“Fortunately there was a defibrillator machine on the station wall.

“This meant we could give her a couple of shocks before the paramedics arrived.”

“I continued CPR with the paramedics until she had a pulse, and then they took her to hospital.”

Greg, 32, was with the first team squad when Mrs Hill is believed to have suffered a major heart problem.

The former Bristol and London Welsh player used his skills as an A&E doctor with help from club physios Greg Littler and Megan Stewart to keep the woman alive.

Physio Greg added: “We were just waiting for the train when the lady collapsed.

“We take a lot of advanced medical equipment with us in case of anything happening on the pitch, so we were able to use it right there.

“We gave her oxygen and we attached the defibrillator to her and it advised us that there was something wrong and we could shock her.

“Seeing something like that, myself and Megan aren’t used to it but we do have medical experience.

“It was great to have Greg who is a doctor there.

“By the time the paramedics arrived the lady was in a much better condition than when she collapsed.

“It’s lucky we had all our equipment there when it happened.”

The lifesavers stayed on the platform until paramedics arrived, following the rest of the team down on a later train.

Mrs Hill was taken to Royal Preston Hospital and later to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for further treatment.

She had been due to travel to Malta to see members of her family when she collapsed.

Mrs Hill’s family have since expressed heartfelt thanks for their swift actions.

Writing to Fylde, her son Darren, speaking on behalf of the whole family, said: “Greg Nicholls was the man, as well as others, who saved my mum’s life at Preston train station.

“She is still in a bad condition and still on life support, but without your help she would not be with us.

“She was on her way to see her daughter in Malta for two weeks away.

“I cannot thank you enough and I am forever in your debt.”

Virgin Trains posted their thanks online to the player and colleagues, stating: “Thanks for your unbelievable efforts. Lost without you.”

Coincidentally Dr Nicholls, the Fylde first team scrum-half, works at the hospital and has visited her personally to check on any progress.

Fylde coach Paul Arnold said:”Greg kept the woman alive until the paramedics arrived.

“He combines work in Accident and Emergency with being a semi-pro rugby player – she could not have been in safer hands and we wish her well.”