Nineteen-year-old Nicolle Marshall has given her heartfelt thanks to the heroic coach driver and his wife whose quick-thinking actions saved her life.

Nicolle, from Dumfries, collapsed and stopped breathing after suffering an epileptic fit on the Solway Sharks ice hockey team coach as they headed to a fixture at Sheffield Senators.

Distraught fellow fans and players on board the coach from Reays of Wigton were unable to revive Nicolle and feared the worst - until driver Phil Forster sprang into action.

Phil, who is a St John Ambulance-trained emergency transport attendant, stopped the coach on the A66 near Scotch Corner and dashed to treat stricken Nicolle, whose face had turned blue.

As he frantically applied CPR and tried to revive Nicolle, his wife May, who also drives for Reays of Wigton, drove the coach to meet the ambulance at Scotch Corner.

Nicolle, who works at the Shortridge Laundry in Dumfries, was taken to North Allerton Hospital, where she was able to recover after receiving further treatment.

Now fully recovered, she met up with Phil and May for the first time since her ordeal when she travelled on the supporters' bus to the Sharks' game in Bradford, which was her first away game since the drama on February 12.

Nicolle, of Nithside, said:

"I spoke to Phil and his wife after Saturday's game and thanked them for what they did. I'm not really sure what happened. People have told me but I can't remember anything about the coach trip at all. I can remember the night before and I didn't really come round until I got home. I slept in the car when my mum drove me back from the hospital and I went straight to bed when I got home."

Phil, 48, from Corby Hill near Carlisle, said:

"The young lass had an epileptic fit on the bus while we were moving. She stopped breathing and had turned blue and her eyes had rolled up into the top of her head. I pulled over and tended to her while my wife took over the driving. It's all down to the training I have had from St John Ambulance."

Amazingly, this was the second time in five months that Phil's life-saving first aid skills had averted a tragedy. Last October, he revived 18-month-old Jessica Howard who was choking on a grape in a supermarket in Carlisle.

Reays of Wigton provide transport for all the Solway Sharks fixtures. David Morrison, Solway Sharks secretary, said:

"I have written to Phil's boss at Reays commending him for his actions. We are all truly grateful to Phil and to his wife May as well. We were about 10 miles or so from Scotch Corner, heading down to Sheffield, when a lass had an epileptic fit. She must have swallowed her tongue. She stopped breathing and went a horrible blue/black colour. I thought she was a gonner - I really did. Phil pulled over at the side of the road and administered CPR. May took over the driving and drove as fast as she safely could to meet the ambulance as it headed towards Scotch Corner. Phil's fast actions were quite amazing. What he did on the day was incredible. I was sitting opposite just two seats down from where it happened. I have nothing but the greatest admiration for what he did and for May as well. The two of them were superb. I have no doubt whatsoever that Phil saved the girl's life. "

Nicolle and the rest of the Solway Sharks party had good reason to celebrate on Saturday as the team won 13-1 at Bradford Bulldogs to make it 26 wins out of 26 games in the English National League North Division Two.