Thank you for saving my life

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When Jo Funnell collapsed with a heart attack, as her 12-year-old son watched, she admits she thought she was going to die.

The wife of Chichester fire officer, Martin Funnell, suffered three cardiac arrests, and she visited them to thank the team of paramedics for saving her life.

Forty-five-year-old Jo, a Sussex police officer until 2007, knew what was happening when she started experiencing agonising pains in her chest and left arm, after returning home after a day out in Brighton with the family on August 30.

Mr Martin said that in his job, he dealt with similar situations on a regular basis.

“But it is not until it is on your doorstep, that you realise how grateful you can be.

“They were true professionals, and we can’t thank them enough.”

“It all happened so fast,” said Jo. “I just knew what was happening, and said to my husband ‘call 999, I’m having a heart attack’.

“I was scared. My son, Josh, was watching. It was horrible, and I thought I was going to die.”

First on the scene was ambulance technician Richard Harris, who arrived in a paramedic car, but immediately called for back-up.

Minutes later an ambulance crewed by paramedic Peter Knight and clinical team leader Tony Gilbert arrived.

The three, who are based in Bognor Regis, battled to keep Jo alive, as she suffered a series of cardiac arrests, and took her to Worthing Hospital, though once there she was transferred to the Royal Sussex Hospital, Brighton, for heart surgery.

Jo, of Wilson Road, Littlehampton, said: “I dread to think what would have happened if it hadn’t been for the ambulance crew.

“They are my heroes. They were just so nice and caring. The kids have not stopped talking about them since it happened.

“It is down to them that I am alive, and that my children still have their moany mum.”

The crew were modest in accepting the praise, and all agreed situations like this were why they did the job.

Tony said: “They are more than welcome. In this job, you get to make such a difference, in this case not just to Jo, but to her husband and her family.

“It’s great to be able to use our training and experience to make that difference.”

Peter added it was not just the three crew, but everyone involved in saving Jo’s life, including doctors and surgeon at Worthing and Royal Sussex hospitals, who deserved the credit.

Richard said: “It’s just great to see everyone, and it puts a smile on your face, knowing the difference you have made.”

Josh, who looked after his mum while she waited for the ambulance, and sister Lucy, seven, who was sound asleep, were also at Worthing Ambulance Station, in Durrington, to thank the crew, and were both presented with bravery certificates by the South and South East Coast Ambulance Service.