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Fairytale wedding follows heart-stopping experience

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Nearly four months after his heart stopped on the way to hospital, a former soldier is now set for a fairytale wedding in August.

James Buckenham, 31, and his fiancée Sharna Rankin will be cutting the ribbon in Swaffham after James suffered a cardiac arrest in April.

Mr Buckenham, a truck driver, was sent an ambulance after experiencing chest pains at work and then at home.

After his fiancée called 111, NHS practitioner Jemma Carnell soon realised there was a serious problem.

“I was Googling my symptoms while Sharna called 111, and it was only then that I realised that I could be in trouble,” said Mr Buckenham, who had no family history of heart problems.

After being transported from Swaffham to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Mr Buckenham suddenly slumped forward in cardiac arrest near Middleton.

Miss Rankin, who was travelling in the ambulance, said: “By the time that he fell forward, Mark [Mark Salter, paramedic] was on his feet and had begun resuscitation.”

The ambulance pulled over so clinicians could work on Mr Buckenham, and after two rounds of being shocked with a defibrillator and heart compression, he began breathing again.

Pictured in the front row from left are James Buckenham and Sharna Rankin who will be getting married in August
Pictured in the front row from left are James Buckenham and Sharna Rankin who will be getting married in August

It was then decided that he would be taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital rather than the QEH for specialist care.

A scab revealed that blood cots had caused a 16mm blockage in one of his arteries.

After a stent was inserted into his artery, the pressure was immediately relieved.

“I have no permanent damage, and am able to return to work, which wouldn’t have been possible without the swift action of the crew,” said Mr Buckenham, who is on a range of medications to manage his condition.

Miss Rankin added: “If I’d been on my own, I wouldn’t have been able to do what they did. If I’d left the call to 111 another 20 minutes, James wouldn’t have made it.

“They’re incredible, it seemed like ages in the back of the ambulance, but it was just a few minutes.

“And now I’m planning on wearing white instead of black because of these guys.”

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