Cai Llewellyn - talented rugby player and a hero alongside sister Celyn in a family crisis

Cai Llewelyn with sister Celyn, John and Nicoal at the awards ceremony


Amongst the very young forwards beginning to make a name for himself at Fishguard & Goodwick RFC is Cai Llewellyn, who has burst into The Seagulls first-team squad  that plays in the tough Division Two (West) as a powerful back rower under coaches Nathan and Steve Jenkins – but he also received a special award for bravery from the British Heart Foundation recently when he and sister Celyn saved their father John’s life after he had collapsed at home and his heart stopped beating.
Both went with John and mum Nicola to the ‘Heart Hero Awards’ held by the BHF at the Glaziers’ Hall, London Bridge, with TV personality Vernon Kay as the presenter, and it was just reward for their courage in the face of a real trauma as they knew they had to do something until the ambulance arrived – but much more of that dramatic day later.
Rugby has always been Cai’s favourite sport, although he does enjoy watching and recently had a great time with some of his pals watching the Premiership Darts’ event in Cardiff.

Early start with some of his current young team mates

He started out in the oval-ball game with The Seagulls when he was only eight years old and in the next few years joined the likes of current first-team colleagues Rhys Lewis, Osian Rowe, Bryn Thomas, Dylan Scott and Will Lewis being well coached by Steve Rowe – and winning two of the age group finals on the county’s big junior day organised by Ken Davies – and continued at youth level as they regularly vied for success with old rivals Narberth.
Cai also played in a more-than-useful Ysgol Bro Gwaun team that reached the Dyfed Schools’ Finals before just missing out to Ysgol Dyffryn Taf, with Mr Hughes as their coach – and in the Pembrokeshire Under 15s, where current Fishguard back row team-mate Chris Shousha was coach he was joined by Rhys and Osian in a strong side that also included Iori Humphreys, Tom Cabot and Jac Delaney as they travelled to matches up the M4 corridor, playing in his favourite position of blind-side flanker.

First team debut on his 18th birthday

Cai made his first-team debut in that position on his 18th birthday, playing in the back row with skipper Shousha and Sion Colella against Pontarddulais.

“To be honest,” Cai told us, “it wasn’t much faster but far more physical than I’d been used to and I ached for days afterwards; but it was great to be involved alongside others who had played their hearts out at ‘The Moors’ for years, and looked after me that day, with coaches Nathan and Steve Jenkins giving me lots of encouragement from the touchline.
“The next season I played in far more games than I expected because ‘Shoush’ and Sion Colella had spells out injured and I was soon received my club tie awarded after playing 20 times in the first team.
“It was a proud moment and my ‘reward’ was having to drink the traditional ‘dirty pint’ that contained not only beer but other drinks like whisky, gin and rum alongside crisps, a few nuts and a raw egg. I didn’t like to ask what else might have been included but just took a deep breath and gulped it down!”

Cai and Celyn with all the other winners

Sunday morning brings a mighty shock

Returning now to John’s sudden collapse, it came last November as John had just completed his normal exercise routine in their home-made gym and it was fortunate that Cai and Celyn were home on that Sunday morning, having a cooked breakfast when dad staggered into the kitchen and they realised something was seriously wrong.

“We shouted to mum to dial 999 because he couldn’t speak or catch his breath and after he had got him on the sofa he went limp and we realised that we had to act fast – and that I would have to do CPR, which like most other people, I had never done before.

“Dad suddenly was a dead weight next to me on the couch and was no longer in control of himself.

“Something just clicked inside me - I managed to put him on the floor and cut his t-shirt off to begin CPR.”

Cai scores for The Seagulls

Celyn plays a vital role

“Meanwhile, Celyn sprinted to the nearest defibrillator – at the village hall around 300 yards from our house – and retrieved it while we received support over the phone from the emergency operator.”

Celyn told
I had never used a defib before and we didn’t even know we needed a code to access it, but I won’t ever forget that four vital numbers sequence.

“Once I got back with the defibrillator, the next 20 minutes were crucial. Cai was amazing – he was so calm taking on responsibility of using the defib with support over the phone from 999.

Cai on the charge


Help arrives  and takes over

“We had to shock him three times in between 20 minutes of CPR, before the fire brigade arrived as first responders.”

Then the emergency services took over treatment, and John was flown by air ambulance to Morriston Hospital.

Dad was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), a device which can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms,  a few weeks later.

He was diagnosed with heart failure, and after such an awful time he has shown wonderful durability and he continues to make incredible progress.

A proud Nicola eventually nominated her children for their deserved award and Cai  and Celyn, 22, received it at the prestigious ceremony in London on Wednesday, 6th December, in front of a large number of celebrity guests from the world of entertainment and sport.

John summed up his children’s actions when he said, “I am still here because Cai and Celyn acted with a maturity and a calmness that has left me just so proud of them.”

“We are now encouraging everyone we meet to get CPR training and to find their local defibrillator,” said Celyn., “because if it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”     

Cai wins good lineout ball


Back at work – and loving his rugby

Cai is now back in work at Qinetiq in Aberporth in his fourth year of an apprenticeship where he is studying Electrical Engineering – and really enjoying his involvement at Fishguard & Goodwick RFC.
Coach Nathan Jenkins told us
.“Cai sets an example as a young player because he never misses a training session and gives 100% there and on the field. We are in a bit of a transition period but with players of his ability and commitment coming through we have a good future.”
Having seen Cai Llewellyn play several times this campaign we can only agree with ‘Jenks’ and we wish him every success on his future in the game – and add our huge congratulations to him and Celyn on their remarkable award, and our good wishes to smashing folk like Nicola and John for the future as a lovely family quartet.
Cai told us he loves being a ‘Seagull’ and having a pint with his team mates afterwards and it is a refreshing attitude because his commitment is evident and so is his dedication to Fishguard & Goodwick RFC!

Cai again in the thick of things