QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-12 > 1103130641
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 12:10:41 EST
Surgeon helps save Santa's life
Surgeon Mark Woodward has been branded a hero after bringing Father
Christmas back to life after he collapsed at a children's party in Birmingham.
More than 200 children at St Edward's Catholic Primary School in Selly Oak
were devastated when Santa Claus stopped breathing in front of them.
Mr Woodward and GP wife Sarah, were at the event with their children and
restarted his heart.
The Santa impersonator Brian Newland, 73, has now made a full recovery.
Mr Woodward told the BBC: "It was pretty bad.
"There were lots of crying children watching and we desperately didn't want
to be the couple who didn't save Santa.
"The low point was when I had to take his beard off.
"I didn't want to do that, but to do the breathing I had to and that upset
the children even further."
Mr Woodward, who works at Birmingham Children's Hospital, and his GP wife
had to carry out heart massage for more than two minutes before they managed to
resuscitate Father Christmas.
He said: "He is such a nice guy. He managed to sit up and as soon as he
realised what had happened, his first concern was for the children and he wanted
to get into the grotto."
The school's head managed to find another Santa helper and Mr Newland was
taken to Selly Oak Hospital.
The former council education officer, from Kings Norton, has stood in for
Father Christmas for more than 30 years.
He said: "Mark told me his colleagues now have a photograph in the
Children's Hospital with the caption Santa Saver.
"I'm most grateful to everyone involved. I've written thank-you cards to
them. I owe them a debt of gratitude which I can't repay."
He vowed not to let the experience put him off. " I love doing it and it
gives great enjoyment to the kids.
"That's what it's all about. I'm hoping to do the school party next
Thursday," he said.
The real Father Christmas is understood to be in good health, but very busy