In March 2018 the East Midlands was brought to a halt by the ‘Beast from the East’. Roads were covered in thick snow and whole communities were cut off.
At the height of the chaos, Paul attempted to drive to work. With the main road impassible, he tried a back road. After a short while his car got stuck in the snow. He recalls: “There was no one else around. I managed to shove the car out of the drift and thought I’d pulled a muscle in my back. Somehow, I can’t quite remember how, I made it to work. In pain from what I thought was my damaged back, I walked to a nearby supermarket. A member of staff kept saying I didn’t look well and could she help. She wanted to call an ambulance but I said I just wanted a bottle of water.”
He walked the 200 yards back to the Pizza shop where he worked and collapsed into a chair. The shop manager and his wife realised the seriousness of the situation and called 999. Paul didn’t realise at the time, but he was suffering from a heart attack.
Our pilots braved the snow-laden skies to land nearby
With all roads out of the town blocked by snow, and vehicles unable to get in or out his only hope was the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance. Our pilots braved the snow-laden skies to land nearby. The medical crew tended to Paul while the pilots flew him to Lincoln County Hospital in time for surgeons to perform a vital life-saving operation.
Looking back, Paul says he owes his life to those who played a part in a day he’ll never ever forget. He added: “I was really scared. It was the second heart attack I’ve had. My first was three days before my 31st birthday. The surgeon told me then that if I had another heart attack I’d die. That’s why I was so scared. I thought I was going to die. I can remember being in the helicopter and there was a paramedic. I looked at her and said, “I can’t leave my little boy. Please, I don’t want to die”. My own dad died from a heart attack at the age of 43. I never really got to know him. It was always at the back of my mind the same would happen to me. I didn’t want my family to go through the same. They mean everything to me. They’re my world, my life.