Grateful family in hunt for lifesaver

When Phyllis Swann's heart stopped while she was shopping, it could have been her last breath.But now the 84-year-old is back home - and has been able to spend Christmas with her family.

When Phyllis Swann's heart stopped while she was shopping, it could have been her last breath.

But now the 84-year-old is back home - and has been able to spend Christmas with her family.

The grandmother of nine owes her life to passers-by who resuscitated her when she collapsed in an alleyway off Blyburgate in Beccles. Mystery still surrounds the identity of a woman who gave her heart massage.

Mrs Swann and her family are desperate to find and thank the woman who helped save her life.

Mrs Swann, who lives in Beccles, had done her Christmas shopping and was using the alleyway as a short cut home when she collapsed on December 8.

She remembers feeling fine and thinking: “Now I've got that out of the way, I can write my Christmas cards when I get home”, but has no memory of anything else for more than a week afterwards.

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She was taken to the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston - where her heart stopped twice more - and was kept in until just before Christmas.

Ash Lever, 25, who runs Smash Skates, rang the ambulance and relayed instructions for resuscitation to Marie Mattin, 42, a clerk at Beccles police station who had come across the scene. A couple of minutes later they were joined by a woman who Mrs Mattin believes to be a nurse, who took over the heart massage while Mrs Mattin did mouth-to-mouth.

Mrs Swann said: “I don't think anyone knows her name or who she is. We want her to get in touch because we would like to thank her. From what I understand I don't think I would be here today without those people. I am very lucky.”

Her daughter-in-law, Gráinne Swann, said: “She was very poorly. When I was called to the hospital they indicated it would be her last night. We just want to thank everybody, including the ambulance staff and those at the hospital.”

Sadly Mrs Swann is mourning the death of one of her sons, Clive, 53, from cancer on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, he was cremated near his home in France but Mrs Swann was unable to be there.

She said: “I am not well enough to travel. It is terribly hard.”

But the family are pleased that they have not suffered a double tragedy at Christmas time.

Gráinne said: “She is so special. It is wonderful. I am so pleased that the children have still got their grandmother.”

At the time Mrs Mattin said: “When it happens you just take over and just do it,” and said she had been pleased to help Mrs Swann.

Mr Lever said: “It is excellent that she is OK now. It is brilliant.”

If you are the woman who helped, or know who she is, email sarah.brealey@archant.co.uk or ring 01502 712060.