STEPHEN Dunlop had just reached the top of a steep Lake District fell walk when he collapsed with what he thought was a sudden bout of bad indigestion.
Unfortunately for the 65-year-old from North Shields, it turned out to be much something much worse.
Mr Dunlop had been enjoying the walk up Catbells with his wife Marion Dunlop when he began to feel sharp stabbing pains in his chest.
He said: “I got to the top of the fell with my wife and I was taking photos when I started to feel unwell. It started with the pains, but I just passed it off as indigestion.”
It wasn’t long until Mrs Dunlop decided to phone for help but with no phone reception, she began to panic.
Luckily enough, the sun was shining, and the couple were joined on the fell by other walkers who rushed to Mr Dunlop’s side.
Mrs Dunlop said: “I screamed ‘my husband is having chest pains does anyone have any signal’ and a man who was with his family shouted ‘I do’ and rang for help.
“It wasn’t long until mountain rescue arrived, and they set off the flare to let the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) know where we were.”
As the seconds turned into minutes, Mr Dunlop could feel himself deteriorating fast. He said: “I started to be sick and then everything was a blur.
“When GNAAS arrived, I was in a bad way and I was panicking but they managed to make me feel at ease straight away.
“I just remember them saying to me ‘it will only be 10 minutes’ which really reassured me and then before I knew it, I was at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.”
Mr Dunlop who is a huge fan of Emergency Helicopter Medics, the More4 series which features the GNAAS team, recognized the clinicians that came to his rescue that day, 14 May 2019.
He told them: “I didn’t think I would ever be using you.”
Mr Dunlop found out in hospital that he had had a heart attack and underwent surgery to unblock his artery. Following this, he then caught pneumonia and had to return to hospital.
He said: “I am still not 100 per cent but I am getting there. They told me at hospital I am a very lucky man and that’s exactly how I feel.
“GNAAS is a brilliant charity and without them I would not be here.”
GNAAS is raising money to become a 24 hour service. Please visit https://gna.as/247-appeal to see how you can help.