The shocking image of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsing on the field during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland brought back painful memories for mum Gillian Hutchinson – and a fresh reminder of the importance of early medical help.

The mother-of-two lost her father David Nelson six years ago when he suffered a heart attack and the ambulance took 40 minutes to get to him.

The tragedy prompted her to co-found the David Nelson Memorial Fund and together with her sister-in-law, Alison Nelson, she has raised funds for more than 20 defibrillators to help prevent people in towns and villages across Weardale from suffering the same fate.

Now, she has spoken out about the importance of early CPR after the tragic incident during Saturday night’s Euro 2020 encounter in Copenhagen. During the game Christian Eriksen, the 29-year-old Danish midfielder dropped to the ground at the Parken Stadium before half-time and was treated on the pitch for an apparent cardiac arrest before being taken to hospital.

The first-round match was suspended with players from both sides in clear distress before resuming some two hours later after Eriksen was said to be in a stable condition.

READ MORE: Christian Eriksen stable in hospital as he continues recovery

Mrs Hutchinson said: "I think what happened yesterday really highlights how important early CPR is because he regained consciousness. When they brought him off the pitch he was conscious, you know it really highlights how early help - they got help to him immediately – is vital. CPR and I'm sure a defib was used as well by the look of it.

“It can really just make a massive difference. It's fantastic they got the help to him so quickly and so effectively, it really was."

Mr Eriksen is said to be in “stable” condition and set to remain in hospital, the Danish football federation has said.

The Northern Echo:

Speaking of her own experience, Mrs Hutchinson added: "We lost dad six years ago, it was January 2015. So it took 40 minutes to get an ambulance him, which is obviously way too late and he didn't survive.

"It was the 3rd of January just after new year and he thought he had indigestion, but it was quite bad. He'd had it once before, a few days before, so he called 111. That indigestion was actually the heart attack. Going into cardiac arrest is basically when the heart stops, and he collapsed.

"So, for 20 minutes waiting for an ambulance he had the chest pains, the indigestion feeling that was really bad and that was the heart attack and then after 20 minutes still waiting for an ambulance he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

"There wasn't any community accessible defibs in Weardale at that time. But they are everywhere now - they're all over I'm a real trainspotter when I go anywhere now, spotting them all over the place, it's brilliant.

"There's community groups and charities dotted all over the place now that are purchasing defibs and putting them on village hall walls, leisure centres, everywhere it just means that it gives people a fighting chance.

"With the best will in the world there might be an ambulance station right next to you, but if they are busy you've still got to wait. That was our thought, to put this safety net in place for people."

The David Nelson Memorial Fund has raised £50,000 and helped install 21 defibrillators across the dale to date.

READ MORE: Dales defib mums nominated for award

Mrs Hutchinson said: "We thought that we would maybe get one or two defibs, we set up a small community fund and it actually snowballed and we've ended up installing 21 to date, and then providing defibs for schools in Weardale and also the Teesdale Weardale Mountain Rescue.

"It really snowballed, we thought we would like to target the main villages, but we've managed to get defibs in Hamlets as well as the main villages in Weardale. To provide a safety net, because there wasn't one for dad."