Just five months after his collapse at a
local supermarket, a Surrey man, who had suffered a cardiac arrest,
was reunited with the two paramedics from South East Coast
Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) who saved his

Peter May (89), a retired underwriter from West Clandon,
collapsed while shopping with his wife Sheila at a Sainsbury’s
store in Jacob’s Well in December last year. The couple, who have
three children and six grandchildren, had driven to the store to
buy flowers for a family friend. Since his collapse, Peter was
determined to track down the ambulance pair who saved his life and
with the help of his nurse at Frimley Park hospital, they finally
met during a poignant get together at Guildford Ambulance

“I had no warnings whatsoever this was going to happen,” said
Peter. “All I can remember really is that my legs were giving way,
then my head, and Sheila immediately recognised that something
wasn’t right as she said my face went pale. Staff at the store
rushed to help putting me in a chair and ringing 999. I was handed
the phone and was trying to answer all the questions but it was
very difficult to make sense of it all.”

Just then, paramedics Connor Brown and Rachel Fenn had walked
into the supermarket on their meal break when they were approached
by a member of staff who thought they were responding to the 999
call. Rachel recalled: “We had popped in to buy a sandwich when
staff at the store alerted us to the fact a man had collapsed. I
ran back to the ambulance to fetch our equipment and when we made
our checks on Peter it was immediately clear that it was

Peter’s wife, Sheila, who could only watch on said: “You
wouldn’t believe what these two people did, they were absolutely
brilliant with Peter but also were so considerate towards me and
how I was coping with the situation. Somebody was watching over us
that day and I cannot express in words how grateful we are.”

“We found Peter almost unconscious and in a critical condition
with an abnormally fast heart rate,” said Connor. “We had to get
him to the nearest hospital so we decided to take him to the Royal
Surrey County Hospital, but just as we pulled out of the car park,
what we feared happened and he suffered a cardiac arrest. Rachel,
who was driving, joined me in the back of the ambulance and we set
about shocking Peter to get him back. Remarkably after just one
shock he came round and began talking to me.”

Another ambulance crew transported Peter for specialist
treatment in the cath lab in Frimley Park Hospital where he
received an internal defibrillator and pacemaker and four days
later he was able to return home.  Compared to before, the
only difference is the many follow-up hospital appointments but
Peter has just had the good news he doesn’t need to return for
another check-up for six months.

“Meeting Rachel and Connor was really important to me”, said
Peter, “and I am so pleased that I have been able to thank those
two very fine people. They have given me the rest of my life and I
can now continue walking the dog every day for an hour and my wife
and I have our 60th wedding anniversary to think about.” 

Rachel and Connor were delighted when they first heard their
patient had been in touch. “I’m glad Peter’s recovery has gone so
well,” said Rachel.  “To meet him again was fantastic and is a
reminder to all of us as to why we do this job.” 

Connor added: “It’s rare that we hear back about our patients
and that’s why seeing Peter today and to hear him and his wife talk
about their experiences while in our care means a lot to us. 
We wish Peter and his family all the very best for the