Newcastle United legend David Ginola has recalled the moment he had a heart attack during a match - and has urged youngsters to learn lifesaving CPR skills.
The former Tottenham and Newcastle midfielder was clinically dead for around eight minutes after he collapsed at a charity game in France in May 2016.
While Ginola lay on the pitch, his friend and fellow footballer Frédéric Mendy administered CPR which ultimately saved his life.
Now fully recovered from a quadruple bypass, the former Magpie visited Benfield School, in Walkergate, Newcastle, on Friday, where he spoke about the importance of CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training.
The 53-year-old joined a Restart a Heart class, run by Newcastle United Foundation staff.
He said: "I am so pleased to see children being taught CPR which really can save someone's life. When I collapsed, of the 15 or so people on the pitch, only one or two knew how to perform CPR.
"I hope these young people will never have to use this training, but it is so important they know what to do if someone they know is in trouble.
"When I collapsed, it was the CPR that kept oxygen going to my brain that saved my life. The heart surgeon who operated on me in hospital afterwards said without that, I wouldn’t have survived.
"I was very lucky that people around me knew how to perform CPR and I am proud of Newcastle United Foundation for training the next generation to be life savers."
Restart a Heart is a global initiative, developed by the European Resuscitation Council, raising awareness of the importance of teaching people how to help someone suffering cardiac arrest.
Benfield pupils heard how less than one in 10 survive cardiac arrest in the UK, but the earlier a patient can receive CPR and a shock from a defibrillator, the greater their chance of survival.
Staff at the foundation - the official charity arm of Newcastle United Football Club - received comprehensive training from the North East Ambulance Service in 2019, working with resuscitation mannequins and defibrillators at St James’ Park.
They have since taken their training out to primary schools across Tyneside, introducing pupils to emergency first aid procedures not generally taught even to adults outside first aid courses.
Steve Beharall, acting head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "We are honoured to welcome David Ginola back to Newcastle and it is fantastic to have his support for the Restart a Heart programme.
"David and Foundation staff know the importance of CPR training and how vital this can be – especially if the young people here have a relative or friend with chronic health problems.
"It is unlikely these children will ever have to administer CPR or use a defibrillator, but are committed to supporting the community with their health and wellbeing, whatever their age.
Ginola has previously supported the charity by joining the Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match with proceeds of the one-off game split between the Foundation, Great North Children’s Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Ginola, who made 58 appearances for Newcastle United after signing for the club in 1995, added: "It is a pleasure to be back in Newcastle as the city has a very special place in my heart.
"I will never forget my time at the club and in the town – I am very pleased to be supporting Newcastle United Foundation with their important work."
The star also visited The People’s Kitchen, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cardiac unit at the Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University.