An MP has given his backing to a campaign encouraging wider knowledge of life-saving first aid.

Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, is supporting the St John Ambulance appeal aimed at getting more people to learn first aid techniques.

Volunteers from the charity’s Harrow Weald branch will be at St George’s Shopping Centre on Saturday teaching basic skills that can help save lives in major medical emergencies.

The advice is part of the charity’s Save a Life in September campaign. 

St John’s volunteers visited the shopping centre earlier this month and handed out 200 guides, giving 57 people basic first aid training.

Research shows that up to 140,000 people, half the population of Harrow, die every year in situations in which first aid could have saved their life.

Further figures taken in a UK-wide survey show half of parents lack the necessary training to give their own children vital first aid.

Len Bamber, regional director of London St John Ambulance, said: “It’s devastating to find that over half of parents wouldn’t have the confidence to save their own child’s life.

“Learning first aid is one of the single most important things you can do in your life. You never know when you may need it – at work, at home, in school, playing sport – you just don’t know.

“Taking just a few minutes to learn basic first aid skills can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”