ILKLEY will be the first official place in the UK to become a 'Town of Lifesavers' if a campaign launched this week is a success.

The ‘Ilkley’s Got Heart’ campaign will run throughout October and November, with the aim to reach 1,000 registered Ilkley lifesavers who have completed a free online ‘Prepared to Save a Life’ course, created and supplied by Ilkley-based Virtual College.

The campaign was launched at La Stazione in Station Road on Tuesday and the first demonstration covered CPR, with Paula Colman from PACO First Aid.

There will be a total of five pop-up, live action demonstrations in prominent locations across Ilkley throughout October and November. Each will feature live demonstrations of the five core elements of the online course, performed on real people.

The demonstrations will be supported by individuals who have completed the course and are able to explain what aid is being administered. The details of all the demonstrations and locations is available at

Paula Colman, owner of PACO First Aid, said: “As a First Aid professional, I spend my life educating people how important it is to have these basic life saving skills, both in your workplace and out in the community. The Ilkley’s Got Heart campaign makes these life saving skills so much more accessible to everyone.

"The online course is very easy, there is no pressure and you come away with more confidence, skills and knowledge you can put in to practice should an emergency situation arise. Why wouldn’t you do it? I encourage everyone to register.

"It’s about 45 minutes of your life, which in turn could potentially save a life. You’ll feel great once you’ve done it, totally empowered and inspired. For some it may be the road to bigger things and you may even want to go on to take one of PACO First Aid’s accredited courses to become a recognised First Aider.”

The course is already making a difference locally. Amanda, an Ilkley resident, recently stepped in to give CPR to a man who had collapsed on the street and previously helped save her son’s life, when younger, by performing choking intervention. She told us: "I first learnt first aid when I was just 10 years old and have refreshed my training throughout my life including taking the Ilkley’s Got Heart course.

"Knowing what to do and remaining calm is vital in an emergency as I know after dealing with, not one, but two life threatening situations. I would urge everyone to at least take the Ilkley’s Got Heart course if nothing else. Even if you can’t physically give first aid you can direct others, remaining calm and helping to make the difference."

And the life of local postman Mark Smith was saved by the actions of Ian Collinas, landlord of The Dalesway in Ilkley, when Mark collapsed minutes after entering the pub. The ambulance didn’t arrive for around 30 minutes and without Ian’s care and calming influence the outcome could have been very different.

Mark said: “I can’t stress how lucky I was, it was fortunate Ian had the first aid skills to keep calm and act with confidence. A year on to the day, my family and I had lunch in The Dalesway, to re-live how lucky I was that day.”

A spokesman for the Ilkley's Got Heart campaign said: "As we go about our daily lives we take for granted that the person sat beside you in the office or ahead of you in the queue is in good health, but the reality is one in five of us will see someone collapse who needs emergency first aid to stay alive.

"Unfortunately most of us will not be able to give that life saving intervention, as we just don’t know how. A frightening statistic is that following a major coronary collapse, it takes just one minute for brain cells to begin to die. Assuming a 999 call is made swiftly and it takes seven to 12 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, that could be 10 to 15 minutes from collapse to treatment. What you do in the meantime makes all the difference to the person's survival and long term health prospects - you can literally save a life.

"Our ultimate goal is to get one in 10 people in Ilkley ‘prepared to save a life’ but for now 1,000 is our target.

"The course is available now at, and we encourage everyone, not just Ilkley locals, to take this course."