He has thanked the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) paramedic team who saved his life.

A Somerset grandfather has thanked those who saved his life when he collapsed while dog walking.

Denis Ward was walking his dog with his wife, Yvonne, on the Quantock Hills in October 2017 when he collapsed suddenly and stopped breathing.

Three bystanders kept him alive by calling 999 and performing chest compressions for almost half an hour.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) paramedic crews managed to restart Denis' heart, and he has since made a full recovery.

The former Royal Air Force Flight Sergeant and his family made an appearance at Taunton Ambulance Station's Open Day to thank the crews in person.

The 68-year-old said: "I can't thank everyone enough for what they did for me. No words can express how grateful we are."

SWASFT Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Adam Greaves, who handled the 999 call, ensured the crews were able to find the remote location.

Paramedics Jenna Mackay, George Lowe and Trudy Wood; Operations Officer, Richard Cockin, Doctor Ed Ford, and a Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance crew all attended the incident.

The crews provided further life support, including defibrillation, before he was taken from the woods to a car park via a SWASFT four-wheel drive vehicle.

Here he was transported by land ambulance to Musgrove Park Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit.

Denis was put into an induced coma for 24 hours, and remained in hospital for two weeks.

He was then transferred to Bristol for heart surgery, and is now living a normal life.

Yvonne said: "It all happened very quickly. Denis collapsed beside me, and I shouted for help.

"We're so thankful to the three people who did CPR for 26 minutes. And without the ambulance crews it would have been a different outcome.

"Even when they got Denis to hospital, it was always going to be touch and go. I was preparing myself for the worst. But he's done marvellously well to recover.

"It's been an emotional journey. But we're trying to move forward, and take every day as it comes."

Richard Cockin, West Somerset Operations Officer, said: "The main message to take away from cardiac arrest incidents like these is that good early CPR together with early defibrillation is what saves lives, and promotes the best possible recovery.

"The NHS team, from the call taker to the cardiac surgeon, has worked together effectively to promote the best possible outcome for Denis and his family."

What is cardiac arrest?

According to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, a cardiac arrest is a time-critical, life-threatening event that occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body effectively.

Figures show 30,000 people are treated for cardiac arrests in the UK every year and just nine per cent survive.

If you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.