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Defibrillator was only installed at local shop in Billinge near St Helens last month

Passers-by who rushed to the aid of a cyclist in north west England have been credited with saving his life by using a defibrillator to restart his heart when it stopped after he was knocked off his bike.

The defibrillator had only been installed at Billinge News and Booze in Billinge, midway between St Helens and Wigan, last month, according to local newspaper the St Helens Reporter.

Sub-postmaster, Ashley Williams, told the newspaper that people rushed to the shop after the cyclist, a man believed to be aged in his 50s, was knocked from his bike by a vehicle at around 10.30 on Tuesday morning.

“They ran in saying they needed the defibrillator because someone had stopped breathing,” he said.

“All I saw was the dentist from nearby giving him CPR. He shocked him twice and he started breathing.

“There was a retired doctor who said he has never seen one used before. He said if it hadn’t been there he wouldn’t have made it.”

According to the St Helens Reporter, the dentist who helped the cyclist was Alec Bate.

In a post to a community social media page his partner Deborah Benali, who also works in dentistry, said: “We all do the defibrillator training but it’s so very different when it’s a real-life situation.

“Super-proud of you and all that assisted in helping this poor guy.”

Paramedics treated the cyclist, whose identity is not known, at the scene before taking him to hospital. There was no update on his condition.

A campaign to install two defibrillators in Billinge was led by Derek Garland, who runs the Eagle & Child pub.

He said: “A guy was giving CPR so Ashley has run across with the machine.

“It’s actually re-started his heart. We don’t know his position and he has been taken to hospital but it could be good news.

“This could have saved a life at the end of the day and that means the defibrillator has automatically paid for itself.”

The prompt use of a defibrillator was last year credited with saving the lives of two cyclists who suffered heart attacks on Mont Ventoux in Provence just hours apart.

> Two cyclists on Mont Ventoux saved with help of defibrillators after suffering heart attacks hours apart

Several websites in the UK, including HeartSafe, provide maps showing the locations of defibrillators, and it’s worth familiarising yourself with where they are situated in your local area.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.