A man from Gloucester has said he will never be able to repay the people whose actions saved his life after his heart stopped.
Chris Purnell had a cardiac arrest while at a martial arts session in Walton Cardiff, just outside Tewkesbury.
But the quick and calm actions of his instructors Paul and Jill Wanklyn, and their assistant Matthew Bourton, got Chris’ heart beating again.
After spending three weeks in hospital, he is now recovering at home.
The incident happened during the White Tiger Martial Arts taekwon-do session at the Wheatpieces Community Centre on 26 September.
The 42-year-old suddenly collapsed. Luckily, the centre has a defibrillator attached to its outside wall so Jill asked Matthew to call 999, get the security code for the defibrillator and return with it.
Paul began CPR on Chris and Jill gave him rescue breaths.
Matthew's heart restarted after a few minutes and Paul guided him through the process of using a defibrillator.
One shock was administered and Paul performed CPR for roughly 15 minutes, with Matthew taking over the rescue breaths.
The mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was carried out despite fears over the spread of Covid-19, with Jill and Matthew thinking only of Chris’ wellbeing.
Paramedics, a critical care team and an air ambulance crew then arrived and Chris was taken to first Cheltenham General Hospital and then Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Medical experts commended all three people for their swift actions and said they had undoubtedly saved Chris’ life.
After spending three weeks in hospital, Chris is now back at home with his partner and two boys.
He said: “I’m extremely thankful to everyone who helped me that day - for the care that I received instantly from Paul, Jill and Matt and later from my cardiology team.
“Everyone I’ve been in contact with has been extremely helpful and professional.”
Chris was born with a heart condition and was used to being short of breath when exercising - but he had never had any serious issues before.
He said he was not aware of having had any warning signs the cardiac arrest was going to happen, although the incident is a blur to him as he can only remember waking up in hospital.
He said he was glad the centre had a defibrillator and his helpers had the knowledge and calmness to be able to use it properly.
The graphic designer, who works in Cirencester, added: “My cardiology team said the care I received there and then put me in a better place.
“I can’t thank them enough. I appreciate them more than they will ever know.
“I will never be able to repay them.”
Data retrieved from the defibrillator provided a cardiologist and her team with vital information, allowing them to provide better care for Chris.
It was the first time the centre’s device, which was installed in 2015, had been used to help save a life.
Paul, Jill and Matthew have been put forward for a Royal Humane Society award.