Belfast Telegraph

So close to death... now Best’s brother is fighting for a law change to help everyone

By Louise Small

The younger brother of footballing legend George Best has spoken of the dramatic moments he collapsed and nearly died.

He revealed his life was saved by the use of a cardiac defibrillator and now wants to see more of the lifesaving devices in public places.

Ian Best (45) had a cardiac arrest on holiday last year and is now spearheading a campaign to have chest defibrillators made widely available across the UK.

Mr Best said he nearly died but for the quick thinking of a stranger and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

“Last January I had a cardiac arrest while I was away on a short break to Blackpool with my wife Tracy — I could have died.

“Within one minute and 38 seconds I was shocked back to life,” he said.

Mr Best said he now wants to see AEDs as widely available as fire extinguishers. He said: “I want to try and get it made law that if you have a fire extinguisher, you should also have an AED.”

Since his life was saved he has started a drive to raise awareness of the importance of the machines and the need for them to be widely available in public places.

Mr Best had to stay in hospital for 10 days and had an Internal Cardio Defibrillator installed after his collapse.

He immediately investigated how many AEDs were available in public places and was shocked to find there were so few.

“I decided to start a campaign in my area; it has now gone throughout the UK and beyond,” he said.

Ian is registering his charity this week and wants to continue to raise awareness of the importance of the devices.

He said: “Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at a football match highlighted the need for defibrillators.”


A defibrillator (right) is a |life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock, |re-establishing the heart’s rhythm. Professor Frank Pantridge from Co Down |invented the portable defibrillator. Research shows a shock provided within five minutes increases the patient’s chances of survival.

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