A MAN’S life was saved thanks to “complete coincidence”, “incredible timing”, and the amazing first aid efforts of staff at a pub near York.

The Blacksmiths Arms in Naburn was filled with diners at about 3.30pm on Sunday, when landlord Tony Buckley went to serve a customer as he waited for his table.

Tony said: “He turned up with his wife and ordered a coffee and just keeled backwards before I could even serve him. His wife caught him and stopped him hitting his head on the wall, and I ran round the bar. That was it, he’d gone. His eyes rolled up into his head. His heart stopped and he stopped breathing so basically died on the floor.”

Working with staff members Gemma Brice, who recently qualified as a midwife, and chef James Priest, staff carried out chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth on the 78-year-old man, whose breathing and heart stopped on the floor of the pub.

As Gemma performed CPR, James ran into the village to get the community defibrillator, which was installed in a phone box last year thanks to fundraising from a local school and a council grant.

However, he didn't have a code from the ambulance service to remove the equipment. But by chance Anne Clark - a parish councillor who helped install the defibrillator and is one of those responsible for monitoring the equipment - happened to be cycling past as he tried to retrieve the kit.

Anne said she was passing “by complete coincidence, just incredible timing”, and - because she had access to the code - helped James remove the defibrillator and took it into the pub, where Gemma, Tony and a customer who was a retired nurse were still performing CPR on the man as his family and other customers looked on.

Anne said: “He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. We got the defib out and it told us what to do. We gave the first shock which didn’t seem to do anything. Carried on with CPR and waited for it to recharge itself, and it told us to stop and gave a second shock, and he breathed a little bit and was a bit sick, the nurse said she could feel a pulse at that point. We carried on with the machine and gave a third shock.

“First responders arrived and took over and shortly after that, the ambulance arrived with three paramedics so there were five of them working on him, intubating him and giving him adrenaline. It was about 20 minutes before they took him to the ambulance, and took him to the helicopter which landed nearby but a while before he took off.”

Tony said he had been contacted by the man’s daughter since the incident, and had been given some good news.

He said: “He’s sat up and joking with nursing staff, apparently. His daughter phoned today and apparently doctors said because we acted so quickly it stopped him getting any brain damage. He’s going to have to have a bypass but should make a full recovery.

“I don’t want another afternoon like that any time soon, it was a bit of a stressful day. We saved him, which is brilliant. I’m immensely proud of my staff and myself and Anne and everyone that helped, because - I’ll be honest - when something like that happens and everyone runs to help, it restores your faith that there are good people out there. It was the best result possible.”

Anne said: “We hope we will never have to use it, but it was used completely appropriately and hopefully saved a man’s life.”