THE grateful wife of Peter Tavener has paid tribute to Wiltshire Air Ambulance for helping to save his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Peter, 71, stopped breathing at home in Upton Scudamore in September 2014 and his wife Annette phoned 999.

Land ambulance paramedics arrived within minutes followed by Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

It took 35 minutes to restart Peter’s heart and Wiltshire Air Ambulance flew him to Southampton General Hospital, a major trauma centre, where he underwent cardiac surgery to have a stent fitted.

Peter was put in an induced coma for five days and spent 11 days in intensive care, followed by four weeks in the high dependency unit.

He incurred a brain injury and after leaving hospital spent almost six months at Glenside Neuro Rehab Hospital in Salisbury.

Annette, who is disabled, said: “Before his cardiac arrest Pete had been very fit. He did a lot of cycling, so what happened came as a massive shock to us all.

“Pete was critically ill for many weeks. Because of his brain injury he had to relearn pretty much everything but, thankfully, he still remembered me and our three children.

“He finally came home on 16 April 2015 where the relearning process continued but this time with my help. It was a long journey but we are really enjoying our lives again.

“Pete has done very well since his cardiac arrest. He loves walking and taking our dog out on walks. He loves socialising.”

The couple had a special reason to celebrate in September - their golden wedding anniversary.

Annette said: “It was a lovely celebration which we shared with family and friends. Reaching the anniversary was quite a milestone, considering what had happened to Pete.”

Annette is a member of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Lottery. The money raised by the lottery helps to keep the helicopter and crew flying and saving lives.

Annette and Peter were thrilled to meet Louise Cox and Steve Riddle, the paramedics, who treated Peter. They visited the current airbase in Devizes and Annette said it was an emotional reunion.

She said: “I am convinced that, without Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Pete would not be here today.”

“Wiltshire Air Ambulance is the most fantastic charity – it has saved so many lives.

"I would encourage people to support it because you never know when you might need it – it may save your life one day.”