A WOMAN who suffered a serious heart attack which left her fighting for her life is encouraging people to undertake CPR training.

Helen Leng, who lives in Ebberston with her husband Mike, collapsed in the bedroom after returning home from walking their dog.

She said: "I wasn't feeling well and went for a lie down. When Mike came in, he could see I was having a heart attack.

"He called 999 for an ambulance, but it was soon clear it wouldn't get here in time so the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) was called and Mike carried out CPR until the paramedics arrived."

Helen’s heart was shocked twice with a defibrillator and YAA’s second air ambulance dispatched to bring specialist emergency medicine consultant Dr Sarah Milton-Jones to the scene.

She anaesthetised Helen in the couple’s back garden so she could be safely airlifted to the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where Helen spent six weeks after surgery to fit a stent in a blocked artery.

Helen, 70, said: “I was at death’s door at least three times in hospital, but thanks to the quick actions of my husband doing CPR and the swift arrival of the air ambulance my heart was not badly damaged and once I turned the corner I recovered well.

“I’ve had a replacement shoulder as that was somehow dislocated and broken during all the drama and so I’m driving again and pretty much doing all the things I did before.

"It was very hard for Mike who had nightmares for a while. You never know what is around the corner so you have to make the most of every day and I’m just very grateful for the fact that there are air ambulances and that they are savings lives in Yorkshire every single day.”

Helen visits many people in need in Ebberston as village pastor with the local Methodist Church. Following her heart attack, in June 2016, the village held fundraising events to buy two defibrillators.

The first unit was officially opened by Helen at Ebberston Village Hall, with the second to be placed at the playing field.

Helen said: "I think everyone in the village was shocked that someone who had been previously been fit and well could suffer such a serious heart attack.

"In my case CPR was the difference between life and death - and people really need to know how to do it. It is not difficult to learn how to do and is an absolute lifesaver."

The dramatic efforts to save Helen’s life were shown on Helicopter ER last week, the UKTV series which follows the work of the rapid response emergency service.