A WOMAN thanked the people who saved her life after she collapsed during a bowls match.

Christine Sampson, 66, of Rushbottom Lane, Benfleet, woke up in hospital unaware she had suffered a cardiac arrest after playing bowls at Castle Point Bowls Club, in Manor Road, Thundersley.

Mrs Sampson said: “I woke up with pains in my chest and the back of my head, but had no idea what had happened.

“I thought I’d had a good game of bowls.”

A cardiac arrest is different to a heart attack and leaves the victim unconscious and not breathing. A heart attack can happen while the victim is still conscious.

Her bowls partner, Ray Larwill, 70, and club member Gerald Goldner, 73, leapt into action to save her. The men started CPR on Mrs Sampson and football coach Craig Shipman, 31, ran to help with the rescue and dialled 999.

Mr Larwill said: “I just remembered the Vinnie Jones advert and that’s exactly what I did. It doesn’t feel real now and felt like time was standing still.”

Four minutes later, a paramedic was on the scene.

Aaron Hughes, an emergency medical technician, said: “These guys were amazing and the work they did saved Christine’s life. It really brings home the importance of knowing first aid. We had to shock her with a defibrillator twice. It’s great to see her again and it really makes you appreciate life.”

Hospital consultants are still not sure what caused Mrs Sampson to go into cardiac arrest, but she is now back home, safe and well, with husband Bernie, 67.

The couple hosted a garden party at their home on Sunday to thank everyone who helped her.

She said: “After what happened, I’m lucky to be here and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did.”