TWO Vale heroes have been reunited with the man whose life they saved after his heart stopped beating for 12 minutes during a bike ride in Worcestershire.
Katie Nightingale and Tony Haines were delighted to discover Alistair Stagg was back on his feet after they helped to save his life last month when he suffered a cardiac arrest during a cycle outing with friends and the three met in Worcester to relive their story on Friday (April 18).
Dad of two Mr Stagg, from Fairford in the Cotswolds, was on his regular Saturday morning ride with his friends on March 29 when he collapsed on Fish Hill, 45 miles into an 80 mile cycle.
Fortunately he was spotted by Miss Nightingale, of South Littleton, who had missed her turn on the way to Dovers Hill car park.
Along with her friend Gemma Guedes the pair called the Farncombe Estate, near Broadway, where they knew there were three defibrillators and spoke with Tony Haines, of Pensham, who grabbed the machine and travelled back with the women to the scene.
Mr Haines, a security supervisor and experienced St John Ambulance volunteer, used the machine on the 48-year-old restarting his heart and bringing him round.
Mr Stagg has since spent 10 days in Worcestershire Royal Hospital and has been fitted with an implantable cardioverta-defibrillator.
The oceanographer said: "It was all surreal. There was no warning, no pain, nothing. I was cycling up a hill and then I was lying on the floor surrounded by people arguing.
"My heart had stopped for about 12 minutes. I now have the ICD, which I will have forever."
But when it comes to thanking his rescuers Mr Stagg said thank you just doesn't seem enough.
"I described it as impossible to put into words," he said of his gratitude. "You feel embarrassed only saying thank you, but that's all you can do."
As for the heroes, Miss Nightingale and Mr Haines, they have even begun to be recognised for their actions.
Mr Haines said: "I have been recognised since the article in the Journal. When I was paying at a garage someone said it's our local hero.
"It was the first time I had used the defibrillator but as a St John Ambulance volunteer I thought I would need to use it at some point.
"This incident just goes to show what a difference a defibrillator can make."
Miss Nightingale, who used to work at the estate added: "We were just glad Tony was there. He was cool as a cucumber."