A Belfast hotel first aider who became the hero of the day at a wedding in May is to receive a top national life-saving honour.
Ivan Withers was called after a woman from Telford in Shropshire who was a guest at the wedding at the La Mon hotel and country club in Grasha Road, Belfast, was found at nearly midnight sitting on a seat and unresponsive.
Ivan immediately began to administer cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and called for a defibrillator. However, by the time the defibrillator had arrived and he had fitted it the woman had started breathing again as a result of the CPR.
Now Ivan has been awarded a Royal Humane Society resuscitation certificate for his fight to bring the woman back from the brink of death.
In addition to the award he is to receive he also won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.
As he announced the award at the Society's London headquarters he said: "Undoubtedly Ivan was the hero of the day at this wedding. Nothing could be worse at a wedding than a tragedy of the sort that nearly happened.
"Thanks to Ivan the victim of this incident, who had stopped breathing and was to all intents and purposes dead, was brought back from the brink of death.
"The seriousness of her condition can be seen in the fact that she had to spend two weeks in an intensive care unit afterwards. Ivan richly deserves the award he is to receive."
No date has yet been fixed for the presentation of the award, which has been made following a recommendation from the hotel management, but it is expected to take place in the near future.
The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.
It was founded in 1774 by two of the day's eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.
However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.
The society also awards non healthcare professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the society has considered over 86,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The society is a registered charity, which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.