Lee-Bernadette Walford, a former nurse, saved a holidaymaker’s life after an incident while swimming in Turkey.
Walford, 53, was enjoying a beautiful day on the water in Olu Deniz when she heard a man screaming for help and saw him dragging someone to shore. Walford, from Staffordshire, rushed to help and realized it was a woman not breathing.
She managed to use CPR to revive Sonya Grist, 79, another holidaymaker from England. The nurse said the couple are now friends. She described how the man, a German tourist, was dragging what I thought was a lifeless little girl out of the sea and he was screaming ‘medic’, ‘medic’. Walford said: “She [Mrs Grist] was terrible in color and I had to start compressions. Grist was then taken to hospital by ambulance and treated overnight.
Walford said: “I turned on, my adrenaline was going.” She said: “There were people filming me doing this and a lot of people didn’t even get up from their deckchairs to help – which is quite alarming to me.”
It happened on the second day of her holiday, October 2, and Walford said she “thankfully” heard the man’s pleas for help.
Walford described the situation: “My husband had had a little sunburn the first day so he was trying to stay out of the sun and I decided I wanted to go further to shore.”
Two days later, Walford came across Grist emerging from a sauna at the Lykia complex.
Walford said: “She just said ‘you saved my life’ and started hugging me. It was very, very emotional.”
The couple have since gone out to dinner and become friends. She discovered that Grist, an avid sportswoman and London tour guide, had gotten into trouble after being caught in a “slight riptide”. Grist said: “She was trying to reach an artificial pier and she didn’t quite make it, she was starting to get tired.”
Walford, a mother-of-four from Newcastle-under-Lyme, urged everyone to learn life-saving skills.
Walford said: “I was a lifeguard and a nurse and I have a lot of life experience and I’m still somewhat aware of my surroundings.”
Over the years, her ability to stay calm in a crisis has helped her save several people, including a boy struggling in a leisure center pool and a choking old man. Walford described new friend Grist as “so interesting, an absolutely lovely woman”, adding that she was going to her 80th birthday party later this month.