A REFEREE who suffered a major heart attack on the pitch has met the team of people who worked to save his life.

Fifty-year-old Doug Skelton collapsed to the ground and stopped breathing while refereeing a rugby match in Selby in April.

His life was saved by off-duty special constable and rugby player Neil Williams and physiotherapist Hayley Brady, who rushed to his aid, as well as a team of paramedics.

Now they have received commendations from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) at a re-run of the Selby Rugby Union Football tournament, at which Doug was the guest of honour.

Doug, who said he is recovering well, said: “There was a big turnout for the original tournament but unfortunately the matches and annual presentations to the players had to be cancelled when I fell ill.

“I’m delighted the club agreed to re-run the tournament and it was a great opportunity for me to personally thank those who attended me back in April. It was a privilege to meet everyone and a really enjoyable day.”

Within a minute of Dough collapsing, Neil Williams and Hayley Brady started working to resuscitate Doug, who was showing no signs of life and did not have a pulse.

Neil carried out chest compressions and Hayley did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, then they used a defibrillator after paramedics arrived and worked alongside them

An ambulance and rapid response vehicle attended and the crews continued to work on Mr Skelton with the help of Hayley and Neil, stabilising his condition before he could be airlifted by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary.

The crew members who attended Mr Skelton were presented with locality director commendations by Vince Larvin of YAS, and civilian commendations were also awarded to Hayley and Neil.

Speaking at the event, Vince Larvin said: “Swift intervention vastly increases the chances of survival from a heart attack and there is no doubt that the treatment provided by Hayley and Neil saved Doug’s life. Both continued to work with our crews when we arrived on scene and this was a fantastic example of people working together in an emergency situation.

“I’m delighted to recognise both the crews and Hayley and Neil for their outstanding achievement with a ;ocality director’s commendation.”

Doug has been recuperating at home with his wife Fiona and sons Jamie, Bruce and daughter Lorna.