A Chorley school clinched a very special signing this week.
Heart attack victim Fabrice Muamba visited Southlands High yesterday to talk to pupils.
Muamba, 24, collapsed playing for Bolton Wanderers during their FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur on March 17, 2012.
He had suffered a cardiac arrest and was clinically dead for 78 minutes.
After surviving, he has helped to lead a campaign about sudden cardiac arrest – Britain’s biggest killer.
Southlands High in Clover Road was delighted to team up with Muamba, who touched the hearts of a nation after his on-field tragedy and pulling through the ordeal.
In February, pupils at the school were inspired to hold a charity fund-raising day after the sudden death of their former deputy head boy, Mark Bottomley.
The teenager, of Doris Street, tragically died just days before his 16th birthday from an undetected heart condition in December 2010.
As part of the event, the pupils swapped their usual uniforms for red clothing and raised money for the British Heart Foundation’s Rock Up in Red campaign.
They also backed The Oliver King Foundation, which has donated a defibrillator to the school.
That charity was set up in memory of Oliver King, 12, who died from Sudden Arrhythmic DeaSyndrome (SADS) during a school swimming lesson.
Southlands geography teacher Sara Malone, 29, who organised the Muamba visit, has been personally touched by tragedy as a result of heart condition.
“My dad had a heart attack three years ago and died instantly,” she said.
“Mark Bottomley was in my form for the year and I got on very well with him for the year.”
She said she was really pleased Muamba accepted the school’s invitation to visit.
She said: “He’s someone in the media and the students obviously know him. A lot are Bolton supporters.”
Since his recovery, Muamba has announced his retirement from football.
As part of his campaign work Muamba, Bolton and Arrhythmia Alliance, the Heart Rhythm Charity, launched a year-long campaign – Hearts & Goals – to help prevent death from sudden cardiac arrest.
It will raise awareness and deliver practical benefits by giving communities access to a targeted 500 new defibrillators, as well as CPR and defibrillator training so that lives can be saved.