Belfast Telegraph

Helen Mirren's Queen of Hearts role

Dame Helen Mirren has become The Queen of hearts - as she learns how to save a life.

The Oscar-winning actress, famed for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, has become the patron of a charity supporting volunteer lifesavers and training them in heart massage.

And to prepare for her new role she was put through her paces learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

She aims to encourage more people to learn how to deal with anyone who suffers a heart attack and potentially save their life.

Dame Helen became involved after a friend, Chris Worwood, had a cardiac arrest at the age of just 40 at the premiere of her movie The Debt.

The incident came out of the blue and he had previously had no heart problems, but he was saved by a police constable who had been trained in the procedure and a defibrillator was brought from a nearby London Underground station that had been placed there by London Ambulance Service.

Dame Helen, 66, has now become patron of the service's Voluntary Responder Group.

She said of Worwood, a TV picture publicity manager: "If he hadn't had the great good fortune to be on the red carpet when he had his cardiac arrest then he wouldn't be alive and well now.

"In these situations speed saves lives and having immediate CPR and defibrillation saved his life, without doubt."

Further details of the charity are at www.vrg.org.uk.

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