Home delivery driver Simon Deniel from our Blyth store has been hailed a hero after he used CPR to save the life of 74-year-old James Storey who had collapsed and stopped breathing.
Former soldier Simon was delivering groceries in Whitley Bay when he was flagged down by James's distressed wife Elizabeth who begged him for help.
Fifty-year-old Simon, who spent eight years in the Royal Artillery as a lance bombardier, ran into the house and found James slumped on a chair unconscious and unresponsive.
While Elizabeth was on the phone to a 999 call handler, Simon did chest compressions until James started to breathe and then got him into the recovery position and stayed until the paramedics arrived.
Simon, who's worked at our store for three years, said: "I'm just happy that I was able to help. I was in the right place right time. I'm so glad he's now doing well and recovering as it was a very frightening time for everyone.
"The ambulance call handler was excellent as I hadn't done first aid since leaving the army and I was relieved when the paramedic arrived."
Simon described how he was just making his deliveries at about 6pm when he saw Elizabeth waving at him from the side of the road.
He said: "I saw this lady who was really distressed and and was waving at me quite frantically. I pulled the van over and put the window down and she just said 'help me, help me, can you help me I need help with my husband'.
"I followed her in and she was on the phone to the call handler on speaker phone. Her husband was collapsed on the armchair, not breathing and unresponsive.
"The call handler asked if we could get him on the floor. It wasn't easy but we managed it. We laid him out flat and then the call handler was saying to do chest compressions and was explaining how to do it.
"It brought back memories as I'd done battlefield first aid a long time ago. I did a few compressions and he took a breath and I stopped then and it was just a case of watching and checking his breathing. It was very shallow breathing at first so we had to watch it very carefully.
"Talking to the call handler was fantastic, they very very helpful. Once I was happy that his breathing was okay I rolled him into the recovery position and kept him calm and still. He was still unconscious at that point.
"Eventually his eyes opened and he moved his right leg, so he was coming round. I was talking to him in a calm voice. I've no idea how long it all took. When you are in a situation like that it seems like ages, realistically it probably wasn't that long. You have got so much going on in your head.
A paramedic and then an ambulance crew arrived and took over.
Simon said: "By the time I left, James was actually talking to the ambulance crew. He had no memory of the incident at all; he was rather confused."
James was taken to Cramlington Hospital where the spent several days before being allowed home to recover.
His family took to Facebook to track down Simon and then to thank him.
James's daughter Michelle Osborne said: "Simon is a true local hero, going above and beyond that extra mile for two random strangers. My family and I will be eternally grateful to Simon, our super hero without a cape!
"We will never be able to repay Simon for what he did. My mum is so grateful to him. My family and I thank him from the bottom of our hearts!
"My mum who was standing it the street in significant distress, as my father had collapsed unconscious and wasn’t breathing.
"Simon calmly went with my mum into my parents' house, got my father from a chair which he was slumped in, laid him flat on the floor and started CPR until Dad took a breath. Then Simon got him into the recovery position and sat with him, whilst calming my mum down.
"Simon then waited for the ambulance and paramedics to arrive and stayed with my parents until my dad was safe and on his way to hospital. Without Simon’s fast-acting intervention my father wouldn’t be with us now. Simon then went on to finish his delivery round to make sure everyone got their shopping."
Emma Williamson, our store's operations manager, said everyone at the store was so proud of Simon.
"What Simon did was absolutely amazing and he's very humble about it too. We are so proud of him. The hospital have said five more minutes and the gentleman would have died.
"Simon is getting lots of lovely comments and they are very well deserved. I'm not sure how he managed to go on and complete the rest of his deliveries to be honest. We told him to come back to store and we would get someone else to take them back, but he just said he was already out so may as well finish them off. Amazing!"