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A Skelmersdale man owes his life to staff at the local Bannatyne Health Club after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Stephen Ager, 59, who describes himself as very fit and healthy, was training at the health club for the Hyrox fitness race when he began to feel unwell. He and his training partner were hoping to compete in the Hyrox race in Manchester and were confident of winning their category as they were training at world record pace.

Stephen explains what happened: “I was on a rowing machine when I started to feel light-headed and couldn’t get my breathe. I can’t really remember much else until I came round in the club a few minutes later but I know that I had flatlined and for all intents and purposes had died.

“My friend called for help and Phill, the health club manager and his colleague Alex started to administer CPR. They attempted to deploy the defibrillator but it advised them there was no heartbeat and the machine guided them in giving me CPR.

“The next thing I remember is the paramedics, who arrived very quickly, treating me, and me telling them I was fine and ok to go home! Thankfully they insisted they took me to Broadgreen Hospital and within a couple of hours they diagnosed an implosion in the main artery and had inserted two stents.

“The training Phill and Alex had received meant that they knew exactly what to do, and the guidance from the defibrillator enabled them to give me the right treatment. Without that I wouldn’t be here today to tell the tale.”

Stephen is back enjoying his training and has recently received the all clear from his consultant following an ECG. His wife Donna, who was swimming in the club at the time of Stephen’s collapse, and two daughters are also members at the health club.

Phill Nuttall, general manager at the Bannatyne Health Club Skelmersdale said: “I am incredibly grateful that we have had the life-saving training and Duncan has had the foresight to invest in defibrillators.

“I think adrenalin just kicked in, but undoubtedly the guidance from the defibrillator in administering CPR helped. I am so pleased that Ste is back with us training and has fully recovered.”

Duncan Bannatyne said: “I am passionate about health clubs and gyms having defibrillators and trained staff on site at all times and Stephen’s story demonstrates exactly why.

“Phill and Alex did a fantastic job and I am very proud of them. It is vital that every fitness site is equipped with a defibrillator and staff who are trained to use them– they save lives!”