A 69-YEAR-OLD man who came within an inch of his life in The Shires has praised paramedics and shopping centre staff who acted fast to save him.

George Walton had just left Boswells following his weekly Saturday morning cappuccino on December 18 when he fell to the ground, having suffered a cardiac arrest.

Security staff Ian Pearce and Nigel Harrison rushed to the volunteer hospital driver’s side and carried out vital CPR using the centre’s defibrillator – assisted by off-duty paramedic Sarah Lyle, who was by chance shopping with her husband at the time.

Today, Mr Walton revisited the scene of the incident to meet those who acted quickly to save his life.

The dad-of-two, of Frome Road, said: “I had just dropped off a young mum in Corsley and was enjoying a coffee in Boswells before picking her up, as I do every Saturday.

“That’s about as much as I remember. The next thing I know I'm waking up in hospital three weeks later.

“Until today, I had absolutely no idea how many people were involved in saving my life and it’s very humbling to meet them all - they're absolute heroes.

“It’s difficult to put into words how grateful I am to them – how exactly can you thank people who saved your life?”

After the heart attack, Mr Walton was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary where he spent three weeks in an induced coma.

He had a mini defibrillator fitted inside his chest and is now fighting fit and on the mend.

Office or business-based responders, such as The Shires security team, are trained by South Western Ambulance Service in basic life support and defibrillation and attend life-threatening medical emergencies in their work place.

Julia Doel, assistant community responder officer for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said this highlights the importance of community defibrillators.

She said: “Early intervention is vital for a patient’s survival when they are in cardiac arrest.

“This means it’s really important people understand how they can help by learning how to deliver basic life support and have access to a defibrillator.

“People like George can receive potentially life-saving treatment in those critical first few minutes before an ambulance arrives thanks to our responders.”

For information about getting a community defibrillator fitted, contact defibrillators@swast.nhs.uk.