Staff at North Walsham pool praised for saving grandmother’s life

A grandmother who suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest whilst swimming has thanked the team of pool staff who saved her life - as they were awarded by the ambulance service for their work.

Margaret Francis was swimming at North Walsham's Victory pool with her son Chris when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest and floundered onto her back. Chris saw his mother was in trouble and alerted the lifeguards on duty who dived in and swam to the middle of the pool to rescue Mrs Francis.

They were joined by more staff, including centre manager Stuart Jardine, and together they lifted the 70-year-old from the water and onto the pool side, where they performed CPR and alerted the ambulance service.

When paramedics arrived three minutes later their efforts had already revived the grandmother-of-three and she was taken straight to hospital for further treatment.

Mrs Francis, from Horstead, has now made a full recovery following the incident in July and returned to the leisure centre in Station Road today to thank the staff who saved her, and watch as they were presented with certificates of commendation from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS).

Mr Jardine along with staff Nick Jones, Lorna Furness, George Galliano, Liam Page and Rob Larke received their awards from Rob Mackie, EEAS clinical operations manager - who attended the scene following the 999 call.

He praised them for their quick thinking actions and added: 'The pure reason that Margaret is here today is because you did what you were trained to do. By the time we got there she may well have been un-saveable.

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'You genuinely saved a life and I congratulate you.'

Mrs Francis, who remembers nothing of her rescue, was pleased to see the staff recognised for their efforts.

'Without their quick thinking I wouldn't be here to say thank you,' she said.

Her husband Gerry, 72, who joined his wife at the presentation, added: 'You read about it and see it on television but you don't realise when it happens to you first hand how valuable the job it is they're doing.

'I shall be eternally grateful (to them) because I think the world of her.'

Mrs Francis, a mother-of-three, said she had not been put off swimming after her rescue and hoped to be back in the water soon.

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