Tony Collins, (second from left), with his daughter Kelly Drover, Chris Beath, Florida Beach Bar manager and Diandra Jones, duty manager, at Crowne Plaza, Terrigal. Tony suffered a heart attack but was saved by Chris and Diandra, using their defibrillator on site.
AS UNLIKELY as it may seem when Tony Collins went into sudden cardiac arrest, short of an emergency department, the pub was the safest place he could have been.
The otherwise fit and healthy 65-year-old was unwinding with a few beers at the Florida Beach Bar at Terrigal on April 14 when he collapsed about 5pm.
It just so happened Berkeley Vale Private Hospital’s director of nursing Marilyn Clayton was getting her hair done just metres away at The Society for Hair and came rushing out still draped in a cape.
Bar manager Chris Beath also came to Mr Collins’ aid with a defibrillator – one of the few pubs on the Coast with such a device.
“It was on the third shock I started breathing again,” Mr Collins said.
“Without the defibrillator I was gone. The pub (was) the only place I would have been safe, 100 per cent right place at the right time. If I had been driving and gone into cardiac arrest I could have killed someone.”
His daughter Kelly Drover, an admin officer, was on duty in Gosford Hospital’s Emergency Department when she got a call from her mother to say “dad was on his way in”.
He was later flown to Royal North Shore Hospital where he was fitted with an internal defibrillator and has since made a full recovery.
It was not the same story three years ago when Mrs Drover’s husband Mathew Drover suffered a cardiac arrest in bed on February 28, 2013, and died aged just 33.
Mathew Drover suffered a cardiac arrest and died on February 28, 2013. The seemingly fit and healthy father of one is survived by his wife Kelly and son James.
Mr Drover worked for Mr Collins in his sewing shop and Mr Collins had been looking after the couple’s son James, his grandson, when Mr Drover arrived home “showing no signs whatsoever”.
“I remember Matt getting out of the car, the big lanky thing he was, and swinging (James) around,” Mr Collins said. “We left with no feeling of what was going to happen (later that night).”
Mr Collins, his daughter and Mr Beath were reunited at the Florida Beach Bar on Tuesday where one final coincidence came to light.
It turned out Mr Beath, who shocked Mr Collins back to life, went to Bowral High School with Mrs Drover’s late husband.