A policeman who owes his life to the quick actions of leisure centre staff after his heart stopped beating is calling for more defibrillators to be held in public places.
Richard Allan, 52, suffered a cardiac arrest after a workout in Downham Leisure Centre, but was saved by operations manager Louise Biggs and duty officer Jon Bunting.
Mr Allan collapsed in the gym and the pair used the defibrillator after his condition deteriorated.
He was later flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and is making a full recovery after a stent procedure.
Mr Allan, who polices in Downham, has thanked the team for saving his life but is also calling for more defibrillators to be in public places.
He said: “The defibrillator saved my life and if they didn’t have it I wouldn’t be here now. The doctors at Addenbrooke’s and Papworth have been telling me what a lucky man I am and that I should be in a box.
“I owe my life to Louise, Jon and the team. They are fantastic team and I’m indebted to them.
“Everywhere should have a defibrillator.”
Mr Allan, who has been a member of the gym for more than eight years, was walking away from a treadmill and talking to fitness consultant Shaun Kavaney when he collapsed on February 6.
The emergency services were called by Mr Kavaney while Miss Biggs and Mr Bunting examined Mr Allan.
Miss Biggs said they used the defibrillator after his breathing stopped. This is the first time staff have used the defibrillator, which was installed in October.
Miss Biggs said: “The training just kicked in and we used the defibrillator successfully.
“I am just thankful that we do regular training and the council invested in the defibrillator. It was a team effort throughout.”
Paramedics and doctors from the Magpas Helimedix worked on Mr Allan in the gym before airlifting him to hospital.
Mr Allan, who remembers nothing from the incident, woke up two days later in Addenbrooke’s and was soon walking around.
The following week he underwent a stent procedure in Papworth the following week and is now recovering at home.
He said: “I feel absolutely fine.”
Mr Allan returned to the leisure centre on Monday to thank Miss Biggs and her team.
Council leader Nick Daubney has also praised the team.
He said: “Incidents of this nature are rare, but when they do happen having professional, well-trained staff and appropriate equipment is crucial. We have recently invested in new defibrillators and now have 12 across our various venues.
“We also have around 130 members of staff trained to use them. My sincere thanks to Louise, Shaun and Jon, who had the presence of mind to act quickly, we are so incredibly proud of them.
Borough mayor Elizabeth Watson added: “I have been in a similar situation with family members, so I know what it’s been like for Richard’s wife and daughter. It’s a dreadful thing to happen and it is so great to see Richard with his family.”
n A defibrillator could soon be in place at the South Wootton Asda store after the supermarket giant announced that it was investing £500,000 in the life saving equipment.