WHAT really happened when a man was saved by a fellow shopper after having a heart attack in an Iceland in the Vale?

John Payne told of the harrowing experience of almost dying to the Royal Humane Society and now his rescuer, Chris Cooper, has been awarded a top national life-saving honour in a Resuscitation Certificate.

Mr Payne recounted what he remembered of that fateful day back in September.

“I was walking down an aisle feeling a bit strange,” said Mr Payne. “I asked a staff member if I could sit down and when I sat down the next thing I know I was on the floor thinking why is this man on top of me? I had no idea what had happened.”

For Mr Cooper, he was strolling round the shop getting his groceries when he noticed a distressed employee…

“I saw a manager walking around looking confused and asked what’s up,” said Mr Cooper. “He took me to John who did not look well. When we were talking he turned blue and I knew he was suffering a heart attack, so started CPR.”

‘They turn blue like Smurf’

Mr Cooper described how it is a horrible experiencing watching someone fall into a heart attack.

“They turn Smurf blue,” said Mr Cooper. “It is a horrible colour to witness once you have seen it.”

Mr Cooper said time stood still when Mr Payne entered critical condition.

“Time stands still,” described Mr Cooper. “You do not know what is going on around you, you are just seeing what is happening right in front of you.”

Mr Cooper thought he had got the job done when he came back round but, astonishingly, Mr Payne was hit with another heart attack.

“I was like, what are the chances of that,” said Mr Cooper. “I was really happy to see the ambulance turn up. It is exhausting. You do not realise how much adrenaline is pumping through your body.”

Penarth Times:

Chris Cooper (left) and John Payne met up a month later

Penarth Times:

Mr Payne's heart attack happened in the Food Warehouse in Barry back in September

‘I was told to say goodbye to my husband’

Mr Payne’s wife Angela described how, once at the hospital, she was told her husband might not make it.

“They told me to say goodbye to my husband at 3am, as they didn't think he would survive the night,” said Mrs Payne.

“After a couple of weeks in CCU and B1, he was lucky to leave the hospital and be back with his family.”

Mr Payne now has a pacemaker put in and said he is doing well. He and Mr Cooper met a month after the ordeal in October where he rewarded Mr Cooper with a well-deserved bottle of scotch.

“Needless to say I owe him my life,” said Mr Payne. “The staff at the Heath went through the medical procedure but they would not have been able to do that if Chris had not been there.”

Mr Cooper, who teaches at the Cardiff and Vale College, is not a man who laps up praise being, humble about his incredible heroics.

“It is a really good thing to do but you do not realise it,” said Mr Cooper. “Me and John keep in contact on Facebook. When my phone pings it’s nice to know I am a little part of the family now.”