A hero pensioner needed to pint to relax after saving the life of a woman whose heart stopped at a disco.

Ray McDermott was sitting in his usual seat at his working men’s club in Grange Villa near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, when someone called for help from the other end of the room.

“I got up to offer, thinking it would just be someone with a turned ankle from dancing a bit too enthusiastically!”, the 76-year-old said.

“Instead, I found a woman collapsed on the floor half under the table - I knew then that it was a problem”.

The ex-ambulance service cardiac technician who now lives at the club with partner Carol found his CPR skills rushing back to him starting compressions while someone else called 999.

He said the 66-year-old woman started breathing but stopped again so he carried on for 15 minutes while speaking to ambulance operators on the phone. 

Eventually, paramedics arrived and the woman was taken to hospital in Newcastle.

Despite suffering from debilitating lung condition COPD Ray managed to power through giving CPR, although did need a pint to relax afterward.

The Northern Echo: Ray with partner Carol.Ray with partner Carol. (Image: TIM BEKIR/BHF)

“After I was finished and they had taken the woman to hospital I was absolutely shattered,” Ray said. “I got up and Carol was waiting for me – I said: ‘is it alright if I go and have a pint because I really need to sit down and relax for a few minutes?’

“While I was doing CPR I completely forgot about my COPD – it just goes out of my mind when someone is that bad, my one thought is for them. Even if I am struggling to breathe I make myself breathe because I need to for them”.

After coming out of hospital the woman he saved and her daughter came back to the club to thank him for saving her life.

“She came in with her daughter and said they were looking for Raymond. 

“The lads pointed me out and they came over and gave me a cuddle – it was brilliant.

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“The daughter said thank you for saving my mum’s life because the hospital had said that if it wasn’t for my actions she wouldn’t have survived”. 

Ray’s heroics that evening in April this year have now been recognised with a ‘CPR Hero’ award from the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The annual awards celebrate those who have shown bravery or gone above and beyond to help those with heart conditions.

BHF CEO Charmaine Griffiths said: “The incredible stories of our 2023 Heart Hero Awards nominees like Ray never fail to inspire me. We’re so thankful to all our supporters who show courage, resilience and bravery every day in the face of heart and circulatory diseases.”