Secondary school students in Essex are gearing up to learn, what could be, the most valuable lesson of their lives... How to save a life.

St Helena School in Colchester is one of nine Essex schools getting hands on CPR lessons in workshops ran jointly by the Resuscitation Council, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and every ambulance service in the UK.

This is part of World Restart a Heart Day, a scheme dedicated to educating and raising awareness of how to help someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest.

The training session, for some of the prefects, at St Helena School is taking place in two weeks.

Claire Wild, health and welfare officer at St Helena School, said: "We recently began teaching CPR in house with resources given by the British Heart Foundation as part of their Call, Push Rescue campaign"

"I have been training the children at St Helena School for a while now as I feel really strongly that students should receive CPR training within school"

Sir Bob Russell, Colchester's High Steward, is also a firm believer in first aid training being taught in schools.

In 1978 Sir Bob's daughter, Joanne, died days after she fell during a gym lesson at school.

Sir Bob, who was also the former chairman of the all party parliamentary first aid group, said the teacher was "absolutely brilliant" giving his daughter a fighting chance by administering first aid straight away.

He said: "The teacher was recently qualified in first aid and basically saved my daughters life which enabled here to get to the hospital alive."

As an MP, Sir Bob campaigned make first aid a compulsory part of the school curriculum, which is now a policy of almost every political party.

He said: "I commend what they are doing, I think it's excellent, but it doesn't replace the need for first aid training."

It's not just pupils who aren't aware of these life saving skills, many adults have never been taught how to give CPR.

St John Ambulance are running free sessions across Essex with the aim to educate more than 200,000 people these skills during October.

Darren Bartholomew, district manager for St John Ambulance in Essex, said: “We’re really pleased to be participating in this year’s Restart A Heart campaign. A cardiac arrest can happen any time and without warning so we’re looking forward to sharing knowledge of first aid techniques so that more people can step forward when confronted with a heart-related emergency, making communities safer.”

Local classes are:

10 October – University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park – from 10am

13 October – Clacton-on-Sea, St John Ambulance HQ, 6 Brunel Road – 10am-2pm