Kent man who collapsed in snow praises life-savers

Mike Ashton
Image caption Mike Ashton said he owed his life to those who rescued him after he collapsed

A Kent lorry driver has praised the actions of rescuers who saved his life during the recent snow blizzards.

Mike Ashton, 59, from Kingsdown, collapsed from the cold trying to walk 15 miles home from work on 4 December.

He was spotted in an orchard at Chilton Manor Farm, in Rodmersham, by Nicola Kelly who alerted emergency services.

Mr Ashton, who spent four days in hospital suffering from exposure, exhaustion and dehydration, said he owed his life to those who rescued him.

He had been walking for three hours in sub-zero temperatures after setting off from Chatham at 0600 GMT, when his body temperature dipped so low that he collapsed.

'Very faint breath'

The first police officers on the scene were two members of the Sittingbourne Neighbourhood Team, Pc Nicki Hunt and PCSO Matthew Link.

Pc Hunt said: "When we arrived I couldn't find a pulse because he was so cold. But when I put my ear to his mouth I heard a very faint breath so I knew he was still alive."

She said she started rubbing Mr Ashton's arms and legs to get his circulation going while PCSO Link ran to a nearby house to ask for blankets.

The officers took off his wet coat and wrapped him in the blankets and a foil space blanket from their patrol car until paramedics arrived.

Mr Ashton, who met all the people involved in the incident on Monday, said: "I owe my life to them. If it had not been for Nicola who was walking her dog I would probably still be there now.

"And when the two officers arrived they knew exactly what to do to save my life. How can I ever thank them enough?"

He recalled: "The snow was semi slushy so it was three times harder to walk than normal and I was hungry and dehydrated.

"I remember becoming very slow and methodical and then I started becoming delirious.

"The next thing I knew the police officers were rubbing me and keeping me warm. If it wasn't for them I would have died," he said.

Both officers have been nominated for an area commanders award for their efforts.

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