A 78-YEAR-OLD man from Widnes has been able to meet the team who saved his life.

Last September, retired police officer Ray Hughes was walking with five friends when he suddenly fell ill and collapsed.

Fortunately one of the group members was Greg Wood who volunteers as an enhanced community first responder at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

Greg instantly recognised the signs of cardiac arrest and started CPR while the others tried to pinpoint their location, which was near to the M62 motorway at Rainhill Stoops, and call 999.

The first medical crews began arriving within seven minutes, pulling up on the hard shoulder of the motorway and making their way over the barrier to begin treatment.

The medics managed to return Ray’s heart rhythm after 28 minutes.

He was then carried down the motorway embankment to the ambulance and rushed to Broadgreen Hospital for further treatment.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Ray has since had a successful triple bypass operation and has been recovering at home.

Along with his friends and family, Ray took the opportunity to reunite with those who saved his life at NWAS Merseyside HQ in Speke.

More than 10 NWAS staff were involved in the effort to save Ray. The team included three paramedics, an emergency medical technician, a critical care doctor and an air ambulance pilot treated him at the scene.

A call handler took the initial 999 call, and then several dispatchers and control staff allocated the crews and the helicopter to the scene.

Ray said: “I’m incredibly grateful to my friends and everyone involved in my rescue.

“They have given me another chance at life.

“Meeting all the people involved to offer my thanks is the least I can do. It’s been a great experience for me and my family to meet them face-to-face.

“Obviously, I don’t remember much about what happened.

“I was awake by the time reached the hospital but was very confused.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be here today, and it was in part down to the professionalism, expertise, and determined actions of the ambulance service and staff that attended that day.”

Dave Kitchin, Head of operations for Merseyside and Cheshire, added: “It was such a pleasure to meet Ray and his family.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

“I’m delighted that so many of those involved in the incident were able to come along too and see him again in much more positive circumstances.

“It’s not often that staff can find out what happens to patients after we take them to the hospital, and when it’s a positive outcome, it’s always nice to mark it.”

Greg has also spoken about the importance of learning CPR and basic life-saving skills.

He said: “The speed at which I was able to recognise what had happened to Ray and start chest compressions undoubtedly played a role in his survival, as did the expert work of the ambulance service and medics at the hospital.

“I would encourage anyone to learn these skills, and if they want to take it a step further, volunteer for the ambulance service like me.”