Harold Hill man is reunited with the people that saved his life

A man whose heart stopped beating while he was swimming had an emotional reunion with the people who helped to save his life.

Jim McCluskey from Tring Gardens, Harold Hill was reunited with the lifeguards at Central Park Leisure Centre in Gooshays Drive, Romford who rescued him after he suffered a cardiac arrest last February.

Jim said: “It was a very emotional reunion because I have always used the leisure centre but never really took any notice of the lifeguards until then.

“It was very special because it was just a way of me saying thank you to them.”

The 68-year-old ambulance officer was training for a triathlon at the leisure centre in February when he suddenly felt dizzy and suffered a cardiac arrest.

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His son Tony raised the alarm and the lifeguards Daniel Stripling, David Hickford and Reiss Thomas pulled Jim out of the pool, before carrying out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The pair also shocked his heart using a defibrillator while someone called the emergency services.

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Reiss said: “We realised Jim was in cardiac arrrest and immediately started resuscitation.

“Our life support and CPR skills are updated regularly but lukily nothing as serious has happened for a very long time.”

Paramedics were on scene within minutes from when the call was made and Jim was taken to Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

Jim spent four days at the hospital before being moved to the London Chest Hospital to have a heart operation.

He was then transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and fitted with an internal cardioverter defibrillator.

Jim is now preparing to cycle from London to Brighton in June to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

He said: “I will never be able to repay them for what they have done for me because I have not got enough years but I think this is worth a start.”

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