A 76-year old man has spoken of his gratitude to the paramedics and off duty doctors who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest in a supermarket on Finchley Road, north-west London.

Michael Toppin, from Hampstead, was recently reunited with the medical teams at Camden Ambulance Station who cared for him after he collapsed near the tills in the supermarket.

In the moments after Michael’s collapse, luckily two off duty doctors in the shop queue heard the cries for help from his partner and rushed to his aid. They performed chest compressions and used a defibrillator to send an electric shock to restart Michael’s heart before paramedics arrived a few minutes later.

Michael said: “I didn’t have any warning. It came out of the blue. I’ve had regular medical check-ups and don’t have a history of heart problems in my family.”

Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of a defibrillator can more than double someone’s chances of survival when in cardiac arrest, which can be done by a member of the public before the ambulance crews arrives.

London Ambulance Service crews – including Chloe Hobson, Alex Evans, Emily Hurrell, Sylvia Egels and Andy Parker – shortly arrived at the scene to provide care for Michael before he was taken as an emergency to a nearby hospital.

Chloe Hobson, who was the first paramedic on scene and took Michael to hospital, said: “This is the first time I’ve met someone after we’ve treated them for a cardiac arrest. It almost brought me to tears seeing him live his best life now.

“It makes it all worthwhile and gives me goose bumps. The reunion was an important day for him but also for the crews who cared for him on scene. It was incredibly wholesome.”

Michael, formerly a creative director for ITV factual programmes, added: “I’m so lucky to be alive because people in the supermarket that day knew how to do CPR and there was a defibrillator available. My chances of recovery would have been very low if that hadn’t happened there and then.”

Since the cardiac arrest two years ago, Michael still makes regular trip to Lanzarote, his favourite place in the Canary Islands. He said: “I often go back there because the climate makes me feel better.

“I’m not back to my full strength but I’m starting to play tennis and go swimming to get my strength back. I’m alive.”

If you would like to support life-saving initiatives from London Ambulance Service – such as providing vital CPR training and buying additional defibrillators for areas where they are needed most, you can take part in the London Ambulance Charity’s first ever fundraising walk.

The London Life Hike, which will take place on Sunday 8 September, offers participants two routes – a 20km walk past the iconic landmarks of our city or a family-friendly 5km route round the sites of Battersea Park. You can find out more information and register to take part here.

If you suspect someone is in cardiac arrest call 999 immediately and our call handlers can help talk you through giving CPR. However, London Ambulance Service provides free in-depth training both of which can be done in just a matter of minutes to learn these life-saving skills.

To read more of this story, click here.