A lifesaving ex-Accrington Stanley player has stressed how important CPR is. 

Leam Richardson saved the life of player Charlie Wyke in November 2021 when they were both at Wigan Athletic. 

Charlie's heart stopped for four minutes when he suffered a cardiac arrest - his then manager, Leam, administered CPR, before club doctor Jonathan Tobin - who also saved the life of Fabrice Muamba on the pitch in 2012 when the Bolton midfielder collapsed against Tottenham - took over. 

As part of the British Heart Foundation and Sky Bet's 'Every Minute Matters' campaign, Charlie has joined an inspiring line-up of footballers impacted by life-threatening heart conditions dubbed the ‘Re-Starting 11’. 

Every Minute Matters aims to recruit 270,000 people – the equivalent of three Wembleys – to learn lifesaving CPR over the next 12 months. 

Leam, a former defender who also had a spell at Blackburn Rovers, said: “From the experience I had with Charlie, I know that learning CPR is paramount. I was so thankful I knew how to administer CPR on that day in 2021, alongside the help of Dr Tobin and the team.

"Charlie’s story had a happy ending and it's great to see him back playing, but that’s only possible thanks to CPR.

Lancashire Telegraph: Charlie WykeCharlie Wyke

"I’d encourage everyone to take the time to learn it - it’s a vital skill and you never know, you might just help save someone’s life.” 

Charlie said: “I think it’s absolutely key that everybody learns CPR. It only takes 15 minutes to learn online. It's so important because you never know when you might need it.

"It saved my life, and I am so thankful that Leam and Dr Tobin were on hand to help administer CPR when they did.” 

As part of the campaign, Sky Bet has pledged to raise £3 million to fund the BHF’s vital work. Fundraising is already well under way with the betting company donating £10,000 for every goal scored in the Sky Bet Play-Offs. 

To date, over 27,000 people have stepped up to save lives by starting to learn CPR in just the first two weeks of the Sky Bet-British Heart Foundation ‘Every Minute Matters’ campaign. 

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at British Heart Foundation, said: “Charlie and Leam’s story is a powerful reminder that CPR saves lives.

“These lifesaving skills really can be the difference between life and death. That’s why we’re urging everyone to take 15 minutes to learn CPR via our free online tool RevivR.

"Together we hope we will equip thousands more fans with the knowledge and confidence to perform CPR and use a defibrillator in the crucial moments following a cardiac arrest - because in the ultimate medical emergency, every minute really does matter.”