Lancashire

Lancashire lifesaver bride Debbie Airey thanks 999 operator

A bride who saved her husband's life on their wedding day has thanked in person the 999 operator who talked her through a resuscitation technique.

Debbie Airey carried out CPR on her groom Paul when he had a heart attack at their home in Garstang, Lancashire, hours after their ceremony.

The couple met Jamie Birkinshaw at North West Ambulance Service's control centre in Broughton, Preston.

Mrs Airey dialled 999 when her husband had a heart attack on 19 December 2010.

Full recovery

The couple had left their wedding celebrations early when Mr Airey, 45, a wheelchair user, had begun to feel unwell.

Mr Birkinshaw instructed Mrs Airey over the phone on how to blow breaths into her husband's lungs and carry out heart massage while she waited for an ambulance crew to arrive.

Mr Airey was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital, where he made a full recovery.

Mrs Airey said: "Sometimes you can underestimate the people who do these jobs.

"This was the first point of contact and it was so important because without Jamie's help I couldn't have helped save Paul's life."

'So fantastic'

Mr Birkinshaw, 23, who is a medical student in Liverpool and works as an operator at weekends, said: "You get some calls that are sometimes so much less serious but because people are so much more panicky, you can struggle trying to get what needs to be done, done.

"Debbie was so calm and so fantastic at doing everything."

Despite the meeting being set up by the ambulance service to enable the Aireys to thank him, Mr Birkinshaw surprised the couple by presenting them with a bunch of flowers to congratulate them on their wedding.

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: "Jamie is just a very nice young man who works very hard and is training to be a doctor."

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