A RETIRED museum worker had a special message for a police community support officer – thank you for saving my life.

Ray Towell, 66, had a heart attack and stopped breathing as he went to catch a bus home from Blossom Street, in York.

But PCSO Lee Johnson was passing on patrol and immediately started emergency first aid, as did paramedic Craig Barley, who also happened to be passing.

Despite Mr Towell’s face turning blue and him giving every appearance of being dead, they persisted and thanks to their joint efforts, he started breathing again and they felt a pulse.

“It is just amazing to me I am still here,” said Mr Towell, of Moor Lane, York, a former curator at the National Railway Museum. “How lucky can you be? I am extremely lucky that the right people were there at the right time. “What they did –it means my life to me.”

After being rushed to the cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance, he made a full recovery and his first priority was to say thank you to the two men who saved his life. So he visited PCSO Johnson at his base at Acomb Police Station and plans to meet up with Mr Barley as well.

PCSO Johnson, 39, was delighted to see that his efforts after the incident on August 14 had been successful.

He said: “I feel emotional but I feel very proud.

“All those first aid sessions I attended – they have proved their worth. They work.”

He said he had no time to feel nervous when he was flagged down by a member of the public to help Mr Towell.

Although he had never been in a similar situation before in his five-and-a-half years in the police, his training kicked in immediately and he knew exactly what he had to do. Like all PCSOs and police officers, he has regular first aid training and refresher courses.

Sgt Ed Noble, of the York West Safer Neighbourhood Team that includes PCSO Johnson, said the police’s number one priority was protecting the public and that included giving first aid.

He said: “Lee knew exactly what to do and he did everything right – he was a superhero that day.

“We are just delighted to see Mr Towell, that he is all right and has lived to tell the tale.”