Pensioner and former policeman Dennis D’Arcy went into cardiac arrest shortly after he arrived at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Naburn, York, for a pub lunch.
Brave barmaid Gemma Brice, on her second to last shift at the pub, sprang into action and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.
Chef James Priest also used his initiative and ran for the village defibrillator, which parish councillor Anne Clark, who happened to be cycling past, unlocked.
D'Arcy was then airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary before spending weeks in Castle Hill Hospital recuperating after having stents and a pacemaker fitted by doctors to prevent further cardiac arrests.
D'Arcy remained upbeat about the ordeal and joked about having missed out on the meal he was indulging in.
He told The Press, York: “I missed everything, collapsing on the floor, people running around after me, doing compressions, a young lad going out to find the defibrillator and coming back with the parish councillor.
“I was disappointed to miss out on a Sunday dinner, but also on a helicopter ride – I’ve always wanted to go in a helicopter.”
Now he has returned to the pub with his family to thank them – and finish one of the pub’s Sunday roasts with trimmings from its popular carvery.
He handed over a plaque to pub landlord Tony Buckley with the message “thank you from the bottom of our hearts” engraved on it.
Licensee Buckley said the plaque reduced him to tears and said it would have pride of place above the bar.
“I cannot put it into words how grateful I am to everyone because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here,” D'Arcy said.
Credit to The Press, York and reporter Dan Bean.