QUICK thinking gym staff sprung into action to save a man’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Mark Ruston, 59, from Benfleet was waiting for an exercise class at Bodycare Gym, High Road, Benfleet when he collapsed.

Thankfully the gym owners, Jo Stokes and Nicola Smith, and gym worker Brandon Merry were on hand to administer CPR and use a defibrillator to save his life before the medics arrived.

Mark, who joined the gym three years ago and has lost more than six stone, said he cannot thank the team at the gym enough.

He said: “I had been on the treadmill for a short warm up and suddenly felt unwell and then passed out in the reception area.

“I then woke in Basildon Hospital, and staff told me I’d had a cardiac arrest after having a blockage in one of my main arteries.

“I had to have an operation to have two stents put in.

“If it wasn’t for the team and the defibrillator I would be dead.

“My family and I are so grateful to everyone who helped me, including the staff at the gym, the medics who came and the staff at the heart centre at the hospital.

“What has happened doesn’t seem real, and I feel like I won the lottery on that day.

“My family and I are now considering fundraising to buy another defibrillator for the community to use, as it’s so vital that people have access to this life saving equipment.

“It is unbelievable what happened to me and I feel so lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.”

Mr Ruston said the gym has changed and saved his life, after his weight loss and the staff saving him.

He said he remembers very little from the day except being in the reception area of the gym and then waking in hospital.

He added: “You cannot put a price on someone saving your life. My family and I went to visit the team yesterday, and I took them some flowers and cards.

“It was lovely and a bit emotional, with plenty of tears.”

Jo Stokes, 45, from the family-run gym said instinct kicked in and they realised they had to save Mark.

She said none of the team had done anything like this before.

She added: “The paramedics said it was our quick action that saved his life.

“It was very overwhelming for all of us.

“I am so proud that we all pulled together so well to save Mark’s life.

“We are all so immensely thrilled with how well he’s doing and it was a brilliant outcome.” It happened on Saturday, November 9.