Fab Change Day – Off duty medic wins award for changing security guard’s chances of survival

Peter Mowbray with his Best of Health 'Unsung Hero' Award from The Gazette

Peter Mowbray with his Best of Health ‘Unsung Hero’ Award from The Gazette

An off-duty health practitioner who saved a security guard’s life with the aid of his smartphone has won a top newspaper award.

Peter Mowbray, an Operating Department Practitioner from Blackpool Victoria Hospital, instinctively made a change from his usual role and used techniques he’d seen in hospital to give the security guard a chance of survival. We are celebrating Peter’s actions and his award as part of Fab Change Day – a day of activism designed to make positive changes in the NHS.

Peter went to the aid of Darren Fisher when he was attacked and hit on the head with a bottle outside Sainsbury’s supermarket on Talbot Road in Blackpool earlier this year.

Darren, 41, from Blackpool, said he would not have survived if it hadn’t been for Peter’s swift and professional actions. Peter used his phone to conduct neurological observations and stayed with Darren throughout his ordeal.

Peter was presented with The Gazette’s Unsung Hero award at a ceremony at The Hilton hotel in Blackpool in September.

Peter said he was delighted to win the award: “I was very surprised, to be honest, as I didn’t expect to win.

“I have never won anything in my career and was so surprised and proud to receive such an award.

“I was also a little sad inside and reflective of why I was in this position and very mindful that a person had been violently assaulted. I dedicated my evening to Mr Fisher. He, in my eyes, is the real hero.

“I was nervous on the night of the awards as I am really incredibly shy and tend to avoid lavish functions like that.

“The atmosphere in the function room was one of what I would expect from something like the BAFTA awards!”

Unsung Hero Award winner, Peter Mowbray, at The Gazette's Best of Health Awards

Unsung Hero Award winner, Peter Mowbray, at The Gazette’s Best of Health Awards

Peter said his family was incredibly proud of his achievement: “My family members have told me how proud they are that I received such a prestigious award.

“I still can’t accept or believe that I have been awarded this and consider it to be a great honour.”

Peter, who has worked at the hospital since 1986, had finished work for the day and was out for a drive in Blackpool with his wife Louise and 15-year-old son Bradley.

Bradley spotted Darren lying on the pavement outside Sainsbury’s supermarket and shouted for his dad to stop the car. Peter pulled up on the pavement then he and Louise went to Darren’s aid.

Peter said: “My medical training immediately kicked in. I could see that Darren’s left pupil was ‘blown’ which indicated a serious head injury.

“I did Darren’s neuro obs on my iPhone. It has a pen torch on it and I used that to look into his eyes. I used it to make sure he was not deteriorating.

“Everyone worked together to do their best for Darren on the day. It was a real team effort.

“It’s a testament to the training I’ve had at the hospital that I was able to save this gentleman’s life.”


Darren, who has five children of his own and nine between him and his wife Colette, 47, was in hospital for three days after the attack and is making a steady recovery.

He said: “If Peter had not been there I don’t know what would have happened. I’m still able to be a dad to my kids now.

“All of the staff at the hospital were brilliant. I was treated like royalty.”

In his role as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP), Peter usually works with anaesthetists in operating theatres. Over the years he has also worked in the Emergency Department and on ITU (Intensive Trauma Unit).

Peter added:  “I would firstly like to thank Mr Fisher and his lovely family for their lovely comments after his horrendous assault.

“I promised him that he would make it when things looked and appeared to be desperate on a pavement in the middle of a Blackpool street.

“I would like to thank Lancashire Constabulary for getting me a medical kit and oxygen to help Darren and Sainsbury’s Superstore for their medical kit that I used to apply a pressure dressings to his wounds to stop his bleeding.

Peter Mowbray with Darren Fisher at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Peter Mowbray with Darren Fisher at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

“I would also like to thank my friends and to my colleagues for their support. Finally my wife and family – they have been my rocks and I love them all very much.”

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