LEE COTTINGHAM is lucky to be alive.

Two years ago, Lee, from Lower Dicker, collapsed while working at a farm building.

His quick-thinking friend performed CPR before first responder Gary Spray arrived on the scene.

Using a defibrillator, Gary jump-started his heart and Lee lived to tell the tale.

Now there has been a special reunion as Lee got the chance to meet the paramedics who rushed to his aid.

“Words can’t describe how grateful I am to every single person who helped me,” said Lee, 45.

“I know Gary was unfortunately unable to make the reunion in the end but we’re going to make plans to see each other as soon as possible.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone.”

On the back of the incident with Lee, Hurst Green and District Responders have installed a public access defibrillator in Etchingham and each surrounding village.

First responder Gary said: “The words that stick with me following speaking to Lee is that he now has two birthdays, with his second being the day we gave him a second chance in life.”

He is certainly making the most of his second chance. Next year he plans to marry his fiancée Kaylie.

He added: “It was great to see everyone face to face and I know I’m just one of so many people who have been helped by the ambulance service.

“Thank you to ambulance crews across the whole country.

“They don’t get enough praise and they do such an amazing job.”

Critical care paramedic Tom Strivens said: “Lee has made a great recovery and it was really good to see him upright and looking so well.

“The outcome was only possible because of everything everyone did.

“This starts with Lee’s friends following the instructions of the emergency medical adviser over the phone and then Gary’s actions prior to our arrival.”