THIS was the moment a man who had a heart attack while driving on the M56 near Daresbury was reunited with the firefighters who helped save his life.

On July 8, Mark Ashton was driving between junctions 11 and 12 on the westbound carriageway when he suffered a heart attack, causing him to lose consciousness and collide with the central reservation.

The 56-year-old from Helsby was given CPR by Neil Harrison and Ian Lloyd, who had temporarily returned to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service during the coronavirus pandemic.

They had undergone resuscitation training just three days earlier.

Members of the public, George King, 24, and Mark Walton, 58, also helped with the CPR efforts.

Thanks to their swift actions, Mark is now recovering well and was able to thank them at Frodsham Fire Station today, Monday.

Mark said: "It was fantastic meeting my four guardian angels who helped bring me back from the dead and to tell them all how grateful my family and I are for all that they did.

"If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have a group of people with such high level CPR knowledge behind me when I had the heart attack whilst driving along the motorway, I would not be here now and I’d never have met my latest granddaughter April.

"My partner Janet and I have eight children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild between us.

"April was born 10 days after my heart attack.

"Fate was certainly smiling on me that day on the M56 and I have wanted to thank my four heroes in person ever since I woke up in hospital and found out what had happened and what they did for me.

"It was emotional meeting them all."

Neil, 53, and Ian, 57, also found the reunion an emotional experience.

Neil said: "When we were giving Mark CPR we thought he was dead.

"To see him now a few months on looking so well was amazing.

"If it had not been for the coronavirus pandemic I think he would have died.

"Neil and I joined Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service on the same day more than 30 years ago.

"We both retired from the service a few years ago and we have both come back temporarily to put our skills to good use during the pandemic.

"As part of our refresher training, three days before Mark’s medical episode we did an advanced trauma care course, and when the incident occurred we were driving home to Chester from a different training course in Lymm, Warrington.

"As a result, we were in the right place at the right time and the knowledge we needed to help Mark was fresh in our minds in terms of the depth of pressure to apply to the chest when doing CPR and the frequency and speed of chest compressions."

Ian, who works for a hospice in Backford, added: "I am so pleased that Mark is okay.

"I’ve never had a positive result from CPR before and I am really glad that we were able to put our training to good use and help him.

"It was lovely meeting Mark at Frodsham Fire Station and to see him looking so well."

Mark has since undergone heart surgery and has had a stent fitted.

He was in hospital for around six weeks.

It was his second heart attack, with a less severe one occurring 10 years ago.