A man who collapsed at the wheel of his car has become friends with an off-duty nurse and police officer who sprang into action to help save his life.

Dave Mortimer was at Three Bridges Tesco petrol station when he went into cardiac arrest.

Nicky Carr, an off-duty student nurse, and Steve Grant, an off-duty Met Police officer, saw Dave had collapsed and called 999 then began CPR on him.

The Argus: Dave Mortimer, centre left, with the people who helped save his life. From left Steve Grant, Layah Garside, Dave Mortimer, Bradley Gander, Nicky Carr and Craig HigginsonDave Mortimer, centre left, with the people who helped save his life. From left Steve Grant, Layah Garside, Dave Mortimer, Bradley Gander, Nicky Carr and Craig Higginson (Image: Secamb)

The trio have become good friends and recently celebrated with a meal to mark 67-year-old Dave’s “alive day” on the anniversary of his cardiac arrest, which happened on April 16 last year.

With support from Nicky, Steve performed around seven minutes of chest compressions while on the phone to Layla Gardise, an emergency medical adviser for South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb).

Critical care paramedic (CCP) Bradley Gander was first to arrive at the scene with paramedic Carly Scarborough.

Bradley and Carly were joined at the scene by then student paramedic Craig Higginson and associate ambulance practitioner James Dickson as well as CCP Carl Tocknell and operational team leader Phil Smith.

Dave, from Crawley, a retired health and safety officer, received a shock with a defibrillator to establish a more normal rhythm for his heart and was stabilised and sedated before being taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

He needed another shock on the way to hospital.

After being fitted with a stent, Dave spent ten days in an induced coma and three more weeks recovering in hospital.

Dave, who was due to drive to Wales on the day of his collapse, said: “I have little, if any, memory of what happened, but I have pieced together various pieces of information and found that I had purchased a bottle of Gaviscon for pain I had put down to being indigestion - I obviously was having a heart attack.

“I feel so privileged to have met the team to thank them in person. I will forever be grateful for everything everyone did to save my life. In Nicky and Steve I have two new amazing friends for life and I and my whole family are so thankful to them both for stopping to help me despite the fact they both had their children with them in their cars. They truly made the difference.

“The hospital team, from who I received brilliant care too, explained to me that I only suffered two per cent damage to my heart and this is down to how quickly and expertly everyone responded.

“I am humbled by the professionalism and skills of each and every one of these people honed by their years of training and experience.”

Nicky said: “I’m in awe of ambulance crews. Steve was amazing and then the teams did a fantastic job. Dave, Steve and I will be friends for ever.”

“When I arrived it was clear to me that Steve was delivering excellent chest compressions,” said Bradley.

“It’s always a welcome sight when we arrive at a cardiac arrest. Their quick thinking and actions were absolutely vital in ensuring Dave was given the very best chance of survival.”