AN AMATEUR athlete who suffered a heart attack has been re-united with a St John Ambulance volunteer from Swindon who saved his life.

Kevin Blann, 49, began experiencing chest pains after completing the Cirencester Off-Road Duathlon, that involved a 5km run, 20km cycle ride followed by another 5km run.

He was planning to drive home to Southampton once he had pushed his van out of mud, but started suffering the pains.

St John Ambulance volunteer Martyn Charity, of Walcot, who was on duty at the event on February 10, along with his colleague James Tombling, persuaded Kevin to go to hospital after checking him over.

Kevin said: “I thought I was just suffering from indigestion but I was actually having a heart attack.

“I really wanted to drive home with my father but Martyn had been called to check me over and plainly wasn’t happy with that.”

Martyn said: “I could see Kevin was unwell and potentially suffering a heart attack, so I recommended he go to hospital, but he took a lot of persuading,” he said.

All of Kevin’s symptoms and his answers to Martyn’s questions, matched those of a cardiac arrest.

“The seriousness of the situation soon hit home when the paramedics confirmed he was having a heart attack,” said Martyn.

Kevin recalled how paramedics carried out three ECGs on his heart on the way to Bristol Royal Infirmary.

“By the third time it was blues-and-twos and we were travelling at 80mph to hospital as I called my dad,” he said.

Kevin then underwent an emergency operation to put a stent into his heart.

He believes he owes his life to the Martyn, who he met again, along with James, at Swindon’s St John Ambulance centre in Rodbourne Road yesterday.

“I will be eternally grateful that Martyn made me get medical attention – if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

Kevin works for Tesco at its distribution centre in Southampton, but has been signed off work until June to recover.

St John Ambulance’s regional events manager Des Young said: “This is a perfect demonstration of why knowing first aid is so important – it can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

“If they had allowed him to drive away and he had collapsed at the wheel, he would have been a danger to himself, his passenger and – potentially – other road users.”