Worksop football referee who suffered a massive heart attack during a game blows the whistle for kick off at emotional replay
A Worksop football referee who suffered a massive heart attack during a game returned to the replayed match and blew the whistle at kick off.
Assistant referee Andrew Jarvis returned to watch Rainworth MW play Hallam FC in Rainworth – just over five weeks since he collapsed shortly after the second half kicked off on August 14.
Mr Jarvis, who sported a specially made half Rainworth MW and half Hallam FC shirt, returned to a heroes welcome with well wishes from fans, players and staff, many of whom had witnessed his near death experience.
As well as being reunited with Shannon Brooks, Hallam FC’s physio, who he credits with saving his life, he was also able to look at the seven-year-old defibrillator that she used on him.
The 60-year-old said: "It was a very strange and emotional moment to be looking at this seven year old piece of kit that saved my life and to see Shannon again was special.
"To be able to start the game off with the whistle was quite a moment and I’m so thankful I got to do that as at least I felt like I was taking part.
"There was a big part of me that wanted to be on the pitch doing my job when I was watching and I always think I’ll have that feeling of wanting to be part of the action no matter what.
"I didn't know how I would feel on the day but it was so good to see and talk to a lot of people who had witnessed what had happened as I can't remember anything.
"It was good to piece it all together and explain a lot of things I didn’t know the answers to like why my back had been hurting and my head as people told me I’d hit them during the fall. People were so kind and wished me well, there were a lot of heartfelt comments from everyone.
“The half and half shirt was a good touch and will be something I can keep to always remember. I had the other halves made into a shirt for Shannon to keep too.”
Mr Jarvis, a dad-of-two and grandfather-of-three, watched the majority of the game, which saw Hallam FC beat Rainworth MW 4-0, from the stands with his wife Jane.
"Football is not really Jane’s thing but she was so glad to be there and really enjoyed it,” he added.
“It was nice for her to speak to the hospitality ladies as they were just opposite me when I collapsed. She enjoyed the day and I think it all hit her when we got home later that night.
"I did have one spooky moment when I drove into the car park. It was full, rammed, apart from only one space and that was the exact same space I’d parked in for the original game, that was dead weird.”
Mr Jarvis is now getting back to full fitness and supporting Shannon’s JustGiving campaign to raise money to buy defibrillators for non league clubs.
He added: “I want to say a big thank you to the hospitality team at Rainworth for looking after me and for all the brilliant comments from both sides, so many people wanted to talk to me and it was really special.”