A PARAMEDIC who raised money to buy a defibrillator in memory of his brother has met the man it saved after he suffered what would have been a fatal heart attack.

Three years ago Nigel Mitchell, 54, who lives on a farm near Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham, decided to set up a memorial fund in memory of his brother, Stephen, who died suddenly in August 2010 aged 52.

So far, through holding fundraising shoots on his farm, Mr Mitchell has raised and given away more than £7,000, which included the purchase of an automatic defibrillator for Middleton.

Within a few months of being installed in the centre of the village it helped save the life of resident Gary Hutchinson, 51.

Mr Mitchell's sister in law, Yvonne Metcalfe, who operated the defibrillator, had just completed a North East Ambulance Service refresher course on how to use the machine.

Today (Wednesday, November 20) the two men shook hands and vowed to raise more money to equip more Teesdale villages with defibrillators, including remote communities further up the dale.

Mr Hutchinson said he remembers coming home from work on September 21 last year, having his evening meal, watching television and then going to bed.

Unable to settle, he came downstairs before suffering what he now knows was a heart attack.

"The last thing I remember is being violently sick and then collapsing," he said.

His wife, Sonia, rang for an ambulance while his son, Graham, 23, ran to the centre of Middleton to get the defibrillator.

Mrs Hutchinson gave him CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) before Ms Metcalfe used the debrillator to re-start his heart.

"All the pieces in the jigsaw fitted into place, I was incredibly lucky," said Mr Hutchinson, who was taken to first Darlington Memorial Hospital and then the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where surgeons fitted him with a stent to open up a blocked coronary artery.

Mr Mitchell said a defibrillator would not have saved his brother Stephen - a well-known Middleton shopkeeper - but it would provide "a much-needed lifeline" for relatively remote villages in Teesdale.

Mr Mitchell revealed that his brother's memorial fund has now purchased a second defibrillator, this time for the scattered Upper Teesdale community around Langdon Beck.

Mr Hutchinson added: "Hats off to Nigel and his family. Now that I am back at work I will do more to support the Stephen Mitchell fund."

Both men praised The Northern Echo for launching its A Chance To Live campaign, which called for more public defibrillators to be made available.

For more information go to stephenmitchell-memorial-shoot.co.uk