Morgan Lovell project manager and life saver Russell Piper has been named as a finalist in a prestigious national competition to recognise the extraordinary and heroic actions of ordinary people.

Russell has been shortlisted as one of 50 finalists in the annual St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards, taking his place in the Workplace Hero category. The category recognises individuals who have used first aid to save a life or made an extraordinary first aid achievement while at work.

Russell was working on a construction site in the London borough of Ealing when his colleague Stephen Headley suffered a cardiac arrest. Having been an official first aider for Morgan Lovell for 15 years Russell knew exactly what to do. He dialled 999 and talked to ambulance control, with his mobile phone on loudspeaker, while administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

After several minutes of providing rescue breaths and chest compressions, another first aider who was elsewhere in the building at the time heard Russell’s cries for help. The two men took turns in giving rounds of CPR for 15 minutes before paramedics arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Stephen, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, survived but suffered brain damage and was unable to walk or talk for a long time afterwards. The incident happened in February 2014 but Stephen has only recently recovered sufficiently to put Russell’s name forward for an Everyday Hero award.

Not only did Russell save Stephen’s life, but he also visited him in hospital, provided support for his partner in the difficult weeks after the incident and arranged transport home for him. As a direct result of Russell’s actions, Morgan Lovell now offers AED training to staff and has made defibrillators available to site teams.

Russell said: “No-one wants to come face to face with a life or death situation like that. But when it happened to me, I was just so glad I’d been trained in first aid and knew what to do.”

The St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards is the charity’s yearly celebration of ordinary people who’ve taken extraordinary action to help someone in need. Each finalist has been nominated for their heroic life saving skills or unstinting commitment to ensuring more lives are saved through first aid.

The awards ceremony, which will be held on 7 September at The Grange St Paul’s in London, is supported by Laerdal Medical, the creators of CPR mannequin Resusci Anne. Visit the St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards website for more information.