A GRANDFATHER has met up with the paramedic team who saved his life after he had a cardiac arrest while walking his dog.

Denis Ward, 68, was on the Quantock Hills with his wife, Yvonne, and their pet pooch when he suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing,

Three bystanders called 999 and carried out chest compressions for almost half an hour to keep him alive until a South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust crew arrived on the scene to take over.

They managed to restart Mr Ward’s heart and he has since made a fantastic recovery.

The former RAF Flight Sergeant and his family attended the recent Taunton Ambulance Station open day to thank the crews in person for their actions last October.

He said: "I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did for me. No words can express how grateful we are."

SWASFT emergency medical dispatcher Adam Greaves, who handled the 999 call, ensured the crews were able to find the remote location.

Paramedics Jenna Mackay, George Lowe and Trudy Wood, operations officer Richard Cockin, Dr Ed Ford and a Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance crew all attended the incident.

The crews provided further life support, including defibrillation, to restart Mr Ward's heart.

He then taken from the woods to a car park via a SWASFT four-wheel drive vehicle, then he was transported by land ambulance to Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital where he was admitted to intensive care.

Mr Ward was put into an induced coma for 24 hours and remained in hospital for two weeks before being transferred to Bristol for heart surgery. He is now leading a normal life.

Mrs Ward said: "It all happened very quickly. Denis collapsed beside me, and I shouted for help.

"We’re so thankful to the three people who did CPR for 26 minutes. And without the ambulance crews it would have been a different outcome.

"Even when they got Denis to hospital, it was always going to be touch and go. I was preparing myself for the worst. But he’s done marvellously well to recover.

"It’s been an emotional journey. But we’re trying to move forward, and take every day as it comes."

Richard Cockin, West Somerset operations officer, said: "The main message to take away from cardiac arrest incidents like these is that good early CPR together with early defibrillation is what saves lives, and promotes the best possible recovery.

"The NHS team, from the call taker to the cardiac surgeon, worked together effectively to promote the best possible outcome for Denis and his family."

*If you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest, call 999 immediately, begin CPR and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.