SCHOOLCHILDREN are to be taught life-saving CPR skills as part of a Yorkshire-wide initiative.

Restart a Heart Day, run by Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), will take place on Monday, and will see 25,000 youngsters from 131 schools, including Malton School, taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

According to the YAS, for people suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, CPR can double a patient’s chance of survival.

Jason Carlyon, clinical development manager for YAS, said: “CPR is undoubtedly the most important step in the chain of survival. If this can be carried out in the critical few minutes before the arrival of an ambulance, it can mean the difference between life and death.

“In 2016-17, 42 per cent of cardiac arrest incidents in Yorkshire were witnessed by a non-clinician who could potentially have started CPR.

“It is therefore essential to provide CPR training to thousands of youngsters on Restart a Heart Day, but also to use the event as an opportunity to encourage others to learn this vital skill too.”

The initiative is being supported by people whose lives have been saved by CPR.

Alex Cowes, from York, was 15 when he had a cardiac arrest during a PE lesson in 2015. He was resuscitated by staff who called 999 and used CPR and a defibrillator. An ambulance team stabilised Alex then took him to hospital. Within a few weeks he was back at school sitting 14 GCSE exams.

He said: “I am so thankful to the staff at the school for acting as quickly as they did; what they did saved my life - they were brilliant.”

It is the fourth year that YAS has organised the event in conjunction with the BHF, Resuscitation Council (UK) and St John Ambulance.

More than 900 volunteers are giving up their time to provide training, the majority of which are YAS staff and community first responders, but they also include representatives from fire and rescue services and more.