HEROIC firefighters went “above and beyond” the call of duty to save a man’s life.
Derek Stokes, 58, collapsed on the pavement 100 metres from Holmfirth fire station and might have had only a few minutes to live.
He was struck down by a cardiac arrhythmia and his heart had stopped beating.
Thankfully, quick-thinking members of the public and Holmfirth firefighters were on the scene in seconds.
Last week crew manager Frank van Rooyen and firefighters Gareth Overend, Chris Lunn and Jamie Vince were presented with the fire service district manager’s commendation.
They were also reunited with a thankful and fully-recovered Mr Stokes, who travelled all the way from Essex for the presentation.
Mr Stokes said “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
The father-of-one told the Examiner he works at Bridge Mills several days a week and was on the way to buy a sandwich when he collapsed on April 15.
He said: “I was just walking along with my hands in my pockets and I just dropped and fell flat on my face.”
He added that he had felt no pain or dizziness and it all happened in an instant.
“I was told that thankfully a couple in a car saw me,” he said.
“They pulled over another car for help and thankfully a man called Matthew Weatherburn was in it.
“He knew what to do and put me in the recovery position while someone ran to the fire station.”
Just metres away the Holmfirth firefighters were carrying out routine tests on equipment.
When they arrived they found purple-faced Mr Stokes was showing no signs of life.
They took off his tie and began resuscitating him.
After five ‘shocks’ from a defibrillator, he began breathing and the crew members were able to find a pulse.
Station manager Dave Smith said: “I believe that the personnel involved without question saved Mr Stokes’ life.
“They went above and beyond with their quick-thinking, speed of actions and persistence to save life which is of absolute paramount in these situations when the clock is ticking.
“So often within the fire service we are called to incidents where even our best efforts are unfortunately not good enough.
“It is both rewarding and refreshing to have such a happy end to an event and I am delighted that the personnel involved have been recognised for their efforts.”
Watch manager Mick Lee said: “They showed complete professionalism and responded quickly. I cannot speak highly enough of their actions – they were first class.”
Mr Stokes has now fully recovered from the incident and is back at home with wife Elaine.
Elaine and daughter Emma, 28, are grateful to everyone involved in saving Mr Stoke’s life.
She said: “I am so grateful to them, they acted so quickly, it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Mr and Mrs Stokes would also like to thank Cathryn James from Honley ambulance station and the staff at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.