A grandmother from Stevenage who suffered a cardiac arrest at the wheel of her car has had an emotional reunion today (Monday, June 5) with the strangers who saved her life.

Kay Rush, 63, suffered the cardiac arrest in Fellowes Way, Stevenage, just after 3.30pm on April 13, causing her to crash her car into a parked vehicle.

Michelle D’Arcy was having lunch at the Our Mutual Friend pub opposite, and the off-duty school crossing patrol officer rushed to help when she witnessed the crash.

Seeing Kay was in cardiac arrest, Michelle started CPR immediately, with Kay still at the wheel of the car.


Sharon Spencer, a senior paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, was on scene in two minutes and moved Kay out of the vehicle to continue CPR.

Rachel Trengrove, a senior paramedic and developing leading operations manager, arrived soon after to assist, along with an ambulance – crewed by Leroy Leachman, a newly qualified paramedic, and Georgina Bull, an apprentice emergency support worker.

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary were also quickly on scene, and acting sergeant Barry Scott and PC Josh Stephenson performed CPR on Kay.      

She was given four shocks over a 12-minute period, which achieved resumption of a sustained heart rhythm.


Essex and Herts Air Ambulance landed their helicopter shortly after to provide critical care assistance. They performed a rapid sequence intubation on Kay, before she was transported by road to Lister Hospital.

After 24 hours, Kay was extubated and came round with no major problems, just having slight short-term memory loss. The hospital found nothing wrong with her heart and the cardiac arrest had been spontaneous.

Kay was transferred to the cardiac unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and has now had an internal defibrillator and pacemaker fitted and is building up her stamina, with her seven grandchildren keeping her busy.

Today, Kay visited Stevenage Ambulance Station to thank the people whose actions each played a key part in saving her life.  


Kay said: "This cardiac arrest came out of the blue, as I thought I was in good health. I had completed the London Marathon in 2021.

"If it happened five minutes before, I would have been at my daughter Nicola’s house feeding her cats while she was away; five minutes later I would have been at my 94-year-old mum’s house and she would have called 999 but would not have been able to start CPR.

"So, I feel incredibly lucky that it happened when it did and thankful to all the people who helped – thankful to Michelle who started the CPR, the police officers and the ambulance service who were so quickly on scene, the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and Lister Hospital.

"I have been told that the survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests is around three per cent, and it is even lower with those who show no ill effects at around one per cent. I’m thankful to all involved that I’m now part of that small survival percentage."


Rachel said: "This is a fantastic outcome for Kay and her family.

"I was close to tears when the ambulance left with Kay, as I knew it was going to be a good outcome for her, as the CPR was started quickly and at each stage of her treatment it had been so efficient.

"This shows the importance of everyone learning basic life-saving skills, as you never know when it will be needed. It can help play a part in saving a person’s life, as happened with Kay."

Inspector John Nelms of Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "I am incredibly proud of my officers and the fact that their quick action was instrumental in saving Kay’s life.

"Our officers are trained to an extremely high standard and this includes first aid training and life-saving techniques. Both officers have been nominated for a Royal Humane Society award - recognition they rightly deserve."