Midhurst firefighter hailed a life-saving hero

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A Midhurst firefighter has been hailed a hero after he saved the life of a woman who had suffered a stroke and stopped breathing as she got into her car to go home after work.

Nigel Gamblen, station commander at Midhurst was off duty when he heard the manager of Budgens, David Laight calling for help as he walked into Midhurst for a meal with his wife Jenny.

He found the woman unconscious, slumped between the front seats of her car.

“There was no sign of life but she was still warm so I started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),”

He carried on giving exhausting CPR for more than ten minutes, until she started to breathe while his wife Jenny called the emergency services and contacted her husband.

The 47-year-old woman, who worked for Kavanagh Budgens head office based in Midhurst, is now making a recovery in a Salisbury rehabilitation home.

Budgens store manager Mr Laight, who found the woman in the head office car park, told the Observer: “I was in my second week in the job.

“I had little first aid training, not even a mobile phone and I needed help urgently.

“What followed was nothing short of a miracle and superb.

“I will thank God for ever that Mr Gamblen and his wife happened along.”

Mr Laight said he leapt into action immediately. “All I could do was stand back and marvel at the way he worked with ultra coolness and professionalism.

“He did not regard himself as a hero, it was all in a day’s work to him,” but Mr Laight had no doubt the woman would not have survived without Mr Gamblen’s help. The couple were walking along Bepton road when the store manager ran into the street shouting for help.

“He wanted a mobile saying a woman was unwell in her car,” said Mr Gamblen, pictured above with his wife.

“I told him I was a firefighter and I would come and help.”

“The woman was blue in the face and she needed help quickly. I handed my phone to Jenny who called for an ambulance and ran into the street to find someone to help me get her out of the car.

“I ran back to the car and found she had no pulse. I knew I had to get her out quickly so I pulled her out and got her on the ground.”

“I carried on giving her CPR until I felt a weak pulse, but she went again and so I re-started the CPR and carried on until the pulse got stronger.”

Then a paramedic arrived on the scene.

“She had some kind of fit and clenched her teeth but I managed to get her mouth open and together we got an airway into her.”

She was then taken by ambulance to hospital.

Brushing aside his heroic act Mr Gamblen said he was trained to react to such situations.

“Normally when I am on duty I have my colleagues with me and we carry equipment to deal with these situations, but that night all I had was my two hands and my training as a fire fighter.”

Budgens are now planning to make a presentation to Mr Gamblen to thank him for his life- saving actions.