A pensioner who suffered a cardiac arrest, ironically outside Falmouth's British Heart Foundation shop, was brought back to life thanks to an off-duty nurse who rushed to his aid.

Allan Hopton, who lived in Penryn from a teenager but is now in Lanner, was reunited on Monday with his saviour, Sharon Dryden, who happened to be walking through the street while shopping when the drama unfolded.

Sharon, a senior staff nurse at Falmouth Hospital, gave him CPR while waiting for a paramedic to return with a defibrillator to restart his heart.

Yet thanks to the speed and effectiveness of Sharon's CPR, Allan was back walking his dog just four days later.

It had begun like any other day. Allan, 67, had been visiting his wife Lyn, from whom he is separated, at her home in Falmouth and popped into town to pick up a few bits needed for Sunday lunch.

"He was gone for ages," said Lyn. "Then I had a phone call from him saying he'd had a dizzy spell and he was on his way to hospital."

This "dizzy spell" turned out to actually be a cardiac arrest. If it was not for charity shop assistant Leah Boote first putting him into the recovery position when he collapsed and calling 999, followed by Sharon quite literally keeping him alive by keeping the blood and oxygen pumping around his body, the story could have had a very different outcome.

Lyn said: "To me she deserves a flipping medal. Thank God Sharon was there - she has given us back our grumpy little Scotsman.

"It's nothing short of a miracle. He's a very, very lucky man."

Allan, whose daughter Tina owns The Wheelhouse restaurant in Falmouth, agreed: "I owe a great debt of gratitude. Quite honestly, without Sharon I wouldn't be here. She saved my life. Both the ambulance driver and the heart surgeon told me that."

He was able to pass on his thanks in person when he met with Sharon on Monday for the first time since his attack. You can watch a video of their meeting online at thepacket.co.uk.

She said: "I'm just so pleased I was there to help. I wasn't even going to come into town."

After being taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for tests, Allan has now been fitted with a defibrillator implant, which will automatically deliver an electric shock if it detects an abnormal heartbeat.

"You hear all this talk about the NHS, but that was the NHS at its very best," said Lyn, who added: "We're really grateful for everything; the care that he had, it was brilliant."