Family's gratitude to heroes who saved Royal British Legion standard bearer after he suffered cardiac arrest during Remembrance Sunday parade in Bishop's Stortford
"Thank you just seems like such a weak word – it's more than that. They saved my dad's life and they have given him back to us."
Those were the words of Sharon Bagley on Tuesday (Nov 16) as she tried to sum up her family's gratitude to those who administered life-saving first aid when Royal British Legion standard bearer Arthur King collapsed during the Remembrance Sunday parade in Bishop's Stortford.
Sharon, a member of the reception team at South Street Surgery, tried to use her own CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training to help her stricken father when he suffered a cardiac arrest.
As she stood aside to look after her mum Linda, a paramedic she is desperate to identify and thank stepped in to help before firefighters used a defibrillator to save the 74-year-old.
As they battled to save the life of the much-loved grandfather of five and great-grandfather of one, others in the parade assisted and formed a protective cordon with their standards.
Sharon said: "I really cannot emphasise enough the gratitude that we have for every single person that saved Dad on Sunday.
"The gratitude we have knows no bounds. Thank you just seems like such a weak word – it's more than that. They saved my dad's life and they have given him back to us."
She said that her father was "dead" for two minutes but is now stable in Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, and starting to piece together Sunday's events.
He did not remember collapsing, and Sharon said the keen golfer and snooker player had shown no signs of illness. In the preceding week, he had been collecting Poppy Appeal donations outside Sainsbury's at Thorley Park as he has for the past 36 years and had attended Thursday's Armistice Day commemoration at Bishop's Stortford's war memorial and Saturday's Festival of Remembrance at London's Royal Albert Hall.
He is expected to be transferred to hospital in Basildon for further investigations later this week, but Arthur is able to talk to his family and already anxious to add his thanks to those of his family.
Sharon said that it was fitting that firefighters were key to his treatment as her dad had been a fireman for 34 years, serving first in Bishop's Stortford at the town's old station in South Street before transferring to Patmore Close. He ended his career as a senior fire officer at Stansted Airport when he was 52.
He went on to use the life-saving skills he learned at work by volunteering as a first responder.
Although born and bred in Stortford, he has lived in Saffron Walden for two decades and works for Peasgood & Skeates funeral directors in the town as a casual driver and bearer.
Sharon said that her brother Sean, who lives next door to their parents, was watching his own daughter take part in Walden's Remembrance parade on Sunday when Arthur became ill.
She said the police and the Red Cross had been outstanding in bringing the family together as he was taken to hospital.
She now wants to reunite her dad with the heroes who saved him.
Arthur will be 75 in January and she hoped he would be well enough to visit Bishop's Stortford fire station then to thank his saviours personally.
In the meantime, she is determined to trace and thank the paramedic who gave crucial initial care.
"Whoever was looking down on him that day, he had all those people from the emergency services there to help," she said.
Sharon urged others to learn the life-saving skills which had made such a difference to her family.