Thank you to staff who gave first aid

Shop owners Azfar Siddiqui (left) and Asif Khan with customer Jason Blackburn, who they saved after he collapsed in their shop in Kettering.
Shop owners Azfar Siddiqui (left) and Asif Khan with customer Jason Blackburn, who they saved after he collapsed in their shop in Kettering.

A former soldier who collapsed in a Kettering newsagent’s has thanked the quick-thinking shop owners who gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Jason Blackburn, 34, from Montagu Street, was at Brace News just a few yards away from where he lives at about 6.30pm on Tuesday when he collapsed without warning.

The former serviceman, who was forced to leave the Army after being shot in the leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, had to have a pacemaker fitted in December after suffering heart problems and believes this caused his collapse.

The owner of the shop, Azfar Siddiqui, known to his customers as Alfie, and his cousin Asif Khan, who occasionally helps out at the shop, immediately phoned for an ambulance.

However, Mr Siddiqui said he realised that Mr Blackburn, a regular customer, had stopped breathing.

He said: “I started giving him mouth-to-mouth. I knew he had a pacemaker so I didn’t want to give him chest compressions because I didn’t know if that would affect it.

“I’ve never had any first aid training, but my dad is a doctor and I’d seen him do it a few times, plus I thought there was an element of common sense, I just needed to give him some oxygen.”

Mr Siddiqui said it took about 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and he was trying to wake Mr Blackburn up during that time.

Paramedics took Mr Blackburn to Kettering General Hospital for treatment.

He was released after several hours. Mr Blackburn said doctors did not know what had caused the sudden collapse.

He added: “I can’t thank Alfie enough. I go into the shop most days and we have a bit of a laugh and I’m really grateful he stepped in.

“In a way I’m fortunate I collapsed there and not at home, because I live on my own and no-one would have been there to see what was happening.”

Mr Blackburn, who called at the shop on Wednesday morning with a thank you card, was in the Army for nine years and in the TA for two years.

He twice served in Afghanistan with the 21st Signal Regiment and on his second tour was shot in the leg. He was later medically discharged from the Army.

Since then Mr Blackburn said he has suffered a number of health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder.