Modest hero Andrew Armitage has been given an honour by the scouts.

And it came as a shock to the 50-year-old from Holmfirth – even though he had fought for 30 minutes to save the life of a stricken cyclist.

Andrew, an Explorer Scout Leader with the 1st Holme Valley Group, leaped into action while helping out at the annual Mountain Bike Challenge that he set up 23 years ago.

One of the competitors, 46-year-old Ian Montgomery, collapsed and suffered a heart attack on a stretch of the ride above Hinchlfife Mill but was saved by the efforts of Andrew and three other cyclists.

They battled for more than 30 minutes after he stopped breathing, keeping him alive with chest massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before paramedics arrived.

The 999 crew used a defibrillator to get Mr Montgomery’s heart beating again and he made a full recovery after several days in hospital.

Now Andrew’s efforts have been recognised by the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, who has awarded him a medal for Meritorious Conduct.

Scouting award for hero Andrew Armitage, centre, presented by Alan Whiteley, District Commissioner, and Mark Stageman, County Commissioner
Scouting award for hero Andrew Armitage, centre, presented by Alan Whiteley, District Commissioner, and Mark Stageman, County Commissioner
 

Andrew, a service engineer, of Wooldale Road, said: “It was a very nice surprise. The medal was presented to me at a Christmas dinner in Holmfirth and I was very honoured.

“Someone must have nominated me but I have to say it was very much a team effort.”

Andrew set up the Mountain Bike Challenge and was on duty at the ride in September 2013. He was driving around checking on the course marshals when he saw Mr Montgomery, of Sheffield.

Andrew said: “He was off Yew Tree Lane at Hinchlfife Mill and said he had felt ill. He was sitting on a bench and I was talking to him when he suddenly slumped forward.

“Other cyclists Ian Humphries, of Sherburn in Elmet, Ian Johnson, of Shipley, and Paul Garner, of London, stopped to help and we realised he had had a heart attack.

“We called 999 and we were on the phone to the emergency services when he stopped breathing. We have him CPR and mouth-to-mouth as the operator talked us through it but it must have been at least 30 minuets before the ambulance arrived. It seemed an awful long time and I later found there had been a shooting in Thongsbridge that day.

“The paramedics used the defibrillator twice and then got him off to hospital and, thankfully, he recovered.

“We all visited him at home a little later and I’m glad he was able to come back for the ride in 2014, albeit to start it rather than ride. His wife has stopped that.”

Andrew, who has been involved with the Scouts for 32 years, learned first aid as part of the training to be a leader.

He lives with wife Susan and the couple have five children.