A TEAM of lifeguards at a sports centre have been praised for saving a man’s life.

The man, aged about 50, collapsed while playing football on an artificial pitch at the Clements Hall Leisure Centre, Hawkwell.

It is believed he suffered a heart problem and a team of lifeguards, from the centre’s pool, raced to his aid.

The man temporarily stopped breathing, but the guards, who are trained in first-aid, managed to revive him.

Ambulance spokesman Joy Hale said: “We found the man collapsed and a first-aider was trying to resuscitate him, but he was unconscious and not breathing.

“An off-duty paramedic at the gym was also helping and the man was revived. He was then taken to Southend Hospital.”

One member of staff at Clements Hall said: “We're all very proud of our team, we really are. They successfully used their training to help save the man.”

Gym-goer Mark Johnson witnessed the drama unfolding.

He said: “I saw the lifeguards resuscitating the man on the astroturf pitch. I heard afterwards the paramedic say ‘the lifeguards have saved his life’.

“From what I saw they responded extremely quickly.”

None of the staff, including management, were on duty when the Echo called.

The incident happened about 8.20pm on Monday.

Are you the life saver? Were you the man who had his life saved? If so, please call the Echo’s newsdesk on 01702 321159 and speak to one of our reporters.