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'I was pretty much gone' - painter reunited with heroes who saved his life

PUBLISHED: 08:29 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:29 14 August 2019

Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

A painter has been reunited with the response team who saved his life following a cardiac arrest.

Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Kevin Bird was working at a house in Ringland when he began feeling tight pains in his chest.

The 61-year-old, who lives in Reepham, managed to sit down in his van but, as the agony grew worse, he realised this was far more serious than just heartburn.

Having crawled into the house, he phoned his wife, Rachel, and she alerted the ambulance service.

A vehicle from Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS), a charity responding to seriously ill patients in remote areas, was then sent to Mr Bird's aid.

Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. He signs the survivors wall

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. He signs the survivors wall Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Upon arrival, NARS first responder Steve Maddams knew something was wrong and immediately called for an ambulance.

"On first look at Kevin he didn't look very well at all," said Mr Maddams. "I've done more than 1,000 jobs and you develop a sense of when patients are really poorly.

"I asked for an ambulance as soon as I could get one and, as it arrived, Kevin went into cardiac arrest so we shocked him immediately. With eight minutes of CPR and a further shock, we finally managed to get his heart beating again."

Further medical assistance including an air ambulance and NARS chairman Chris Neil arrived, before Mr Bird was transported to hospital via road ambulance.

Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Kevin Bird meets the first responders from NARS in Dereham who saved his life when he suffered cardiac arrest. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Fortunately Mr Bird has since made a full recovery and was even permitted to go on holiday with his wife just three weeks later.

And on Tuesday, two months after the heart attack, he was reunited with the life-saving team at the new NARS base in Dereham, where he became the first person to sign the charity's 'survivor' wall.

"These guys basically saved my life," said Mr Bird. "For a little while I was pretty much gone.

"It's fantastic to see them all again and they've been so helpful ever since. They've suggested telling my story at a few events because the survival rate for cardiac arrests is so low.

"I feel brand new now - brilliant, in fact. I get a bit tired, but that will improve with time and slowly I'll get back to 100pc."

- Visit nars.org.uk to find out how to support and volunteer with the charity.

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