Man at Grandparents’ Day celebration when in the blink of an eye—the worst thing happens

March 30, 2018 11:28 am Last Updated: March 30, 2018 11:28 am

Grandparents have a reputation for spoiling their grandchildren with non-stop fun, while leaving all of the not so fun disciplining to the parents. With that in mind, Grandparents’ Day should have been the most fun-filled day on the calendar.

Bill Whybrew loves spending time with his grandkids, and six months ago was in attendance at the Rouse Hill Anglican College Grandparents’ Day assembly in Sydney, Australia.

While at Grandparents’ Day with his two grandsons, Whybrew had a sudden medical emergency.


It happened in the blink of an eye. Bill was next to his wife Brigitte one second, and was sprawled out on the ground the next.

“He just collapsed, I didn’t know what had happened,” Brigitte told 9NEWS.

With his advanced age and the severity of the cardiac episode, time was of the essence. Two teachers jumped into action to resuscitate the pensioner, while others called paramedics.

“Luckily for the staff in this school, they just took control,” Brigitte said.

Two teachers leapt into action to perform CPR on Whybrew.


Teachers Paul Kennedy and Karen Knight alternated between CPR and a defibrillator, which improved Whybrew’s odds of survival by 75 percent.

“Instinct kicked in. All the training you do over the years paid off,” Kennedy told 9NEWS.

Emergency crews arrived quickly, but without a moment to spare. Chief Inspector Brian Parsell of NSW Ambulance was mowing his lawn when the call came in.

Because he knew time was of the essence, he responded to the call in the clothes he was wearing for his yard work.

“I thought, ‘it’s a confirmed cardiac arrest, seconds count. I could go in and get dressed or I could just respond in my mowing gear because I don’t think the patient’s going to care,'” Parsell told 9NEWS.

The ambulance service arrived on the scene and whisked Whybrew away, but later acknowledged Kennedy and Knight were the ones who really saved Whybrew’s life.

“The teachers, they were the ones who saved your life,” Parsell said to Whybrew the first time they met after the cardiac episode.


In uniform for the occasion on March 27, Parsell met with the grandfather he helped save and deferred all praise to the quick-thinking teachers for keeping him alive.

Despite only narrowly living to tell the tale, Whybrew’s spirit and sense of humor haven’t been dampened. He proudly wore a shirt that said “I survived Grandparents’ Day at Rouse Hill Anglican College,” while speaking to reporters.

“It says I survived Grandparents’ Day, which I did,” Whybrew said.


The 71 year old joined paramedics in thanking the two teachers who saved his life, after he collapsed at his grandchildren's school.#9News |

Posted by 9 News Sydney on Tuesday, March 27, 2018