THE 87-year-old founder of a Swindon bike shop has praised the teams of paramedics and hospital staff who saved his life.

Harold Mitchell of Mitchell Cycles felt a sharp pain in his abdomen that turned out to be septicaemia and he could have died if it had not been treated quickly enough.

He was at home on October 4 when the pain hit. His wife Jean called 111 and when the call handler heard Harold in the background, crying out in agony, they sent an ambulance immediately and rushed him to hospital.

He spent almost a week at the Great Western Hospital, where he was treated in intensive care

Now at home again and recovering, he is full of gratitude for the professionals who helped him in his time of dire need. “The hospital recently apologised for long waits in A&E due to large numbers of patients - they don’t have to apologise to me," he said.

“I and my family thank them for saving my life. Well done to the NHS staff for the incredible work they do every day which does not get enough appreciation.

I was in a lot of pain and a very helpful lady sent a paramedic who then sent me to A&E, which was very busy but the staff did not panic.

“The doctor said I was fortunate that he was close by. I’m a man of strong Christian faith and that helped me in my time of need.

“My organs were breaking down quite quickly so the speed and teamwork between the staff on the phone, in the ambulance and in each hospital ward were essential.

“I can’t recall all of it but I remember having tubes in my arms, they wiped me in cold water and ice and carried out urgent intensive care.

“I’m glad to be back home and I feel marvellous now.”

Jean Mitchell, 82, said: “I felt quite peaceful because we have a faith and believe in life after death. We’ve had a wonderful life together, he’s looked after me and been brilliant. It was still a difficult time and I really wanted him to pull through it.

“The whole family were round his hospital bed, it all happened very quickly and the doctors and nurses were so kind to him.while they cared for him and transferred him.

“He’s been through the worst part and now we just have to make sure he gets better and builds his strength back up.”

Intensive Care Unit ward manager Liz Gallagher said: “We do our very best to care for our critically ill patients in the ICU and our hope is for every patient we treat to be fit enough to return to their homes and lead independent lives, so we are thrilled to hear that Harold is up on his feet again.”