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Pool drama woman thanks heroes

PUBLISHED: 13:21 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

A grandmother-of-five has thanked the team of heroes who saved her life after she lost consciousness while swimming.

Sixty-five-year-old Beryl Hunt, from Etling Green, near Dereham, was at Dereham Leisure Centre last Friday when lifeguard Holly Stillwell spotted her floating face down in the pool.

A grandmother-of-five has thanked the team of heroes who saved her life after she lost consciousness while swimming.

Sixty-five-year-old Beryl Hunt, from Etling Green, near Dereham, was at Dereham Leisure Centre last Friday when lifeguard Holly Stillwell spotted her floating face down in the pool.

As the alarm was raised Paul Robson, who was teaching schoolchildren water safety at the time, dived into the pool to get to Mrs Hunt.

“I was at the deep end teaching the children and suddenly I heard the pool alarms go off because one of the lifeguards had spotted Beryl face down in the deep end,” said Mr Robson.

“Being the nearest person I dived straight in and turned Beryl over and took her to the side where the lifeguards helped me to get her out.

“Beryl was completely blue. She was not breathing and did not have a pulse. I did CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) with the assistance of the two lifeguards for about 10 to 12 minutes.

“We got Beryl's heart beat back and she started breathing just before the ambulance came.

“When Beryl started to breathe again it was quite incredible and all her colour came back. It is amazing to see her looking so well now.”

Mrs Hunt, who came out of hospital on Sunday and is now back to normal apart from a slight pain in her chest, said: “One minute I was in the pool and the next thing I knew it was 3pm and I was at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“I cannot thank Paul and the lifeguards enough. Without them I would not be here now. I am lucky to be alive.”

She said hospital staff had told her that they did not think she had had a fit or heart attack, and said what happened could have been caused by the combination of the extremely hot weather and the cold water in the pool.

Mrs Hunt, who has two sons, usually goes swimming three times a week and despite what has happened she still hopes to be back swimming at the leisure centre soon.

One of the first things she did after leaving hospital was visit the leisure centre to say thank you to the staff that saved her.

Mr Robson, who was helped by lifeguards Holly Stillwell and Chris Hulett and duty manager Pasquale Guida, said it was the first time in 20 years that he had had to do CPR.

“We train for it once a month but it is very rare we have to put it into practice. Luckily this time it worked,” he said, adding that the leisure centre was now hoping to raise enough money to buy a defibrillator.

Anybody who would like to make a donation should call the centre on 01362 693419.

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