Crouch End pensioner thanks Park Road gym staff who saved his life after heart attack

Peter Sergeant with Tom Astley (left) and Jack Foord (right) who saved his life. Picture: Sam Volpe

Peter Sergeant with Tom Astley (left) and Jack Foord (right) who saved his life. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

An active Crouch End pensioner is thanking his lucky stars, and two life-saving staff at the Park Road Leisure Centre, that he’s still alive after he suffered a heart attack while at the gym.

Two members of staff - Jack Foord and Tom Astley - stepped in when they spotted Peter Sergeant, 78, going into cardiac arrest.

Peter, a retired builder and actor who once took to the West End naked in a production of raunchy show Oh! Calcutta! has been a regular fixture at Park Road for decades - he reckons he's been swimming at the Lido for 41 years.

But this year, on a day renowned for affairs of the heart - February 14 - Peter's own gave him quite the scare.

He was warming down at the gym when his heart stopped, and luckily for him Jack and Tom were able to provide emergency first aid to keep him alive.

He told the Broadway what happened.

"I was just warming down in the gym after doing 500m in the pool... and then I woke up confused in the Royal Free.

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"I didn't see any white light, which might disappoint some," he said. Peter said he was incredibly grateful for Jack and Tom's intervention.

He said: "Well if they'd not been there, I'd not be here! And the defibrillator is extraordinary invention."

Peter, who's gearing up to celebrate the Lido's 90th birthday on June 1, spent 10 days at the Royal Free before undergoing surgery at St Bart's in Farringdon - he calls his chest scar his 'Bart's Badge'.

East Finchley's Jack, 30 a trainer at the gym, added: "I've never had that happen in the eight years I've been here. He pretty much keeled over. It was pretty scary stuff and we had to grab the defibrillator. Luckily, by the time the ambulance were here, things looked more positive."

Tom, who runs TA Physio from the gym, added: "It's been a really positive outcome from what was a traumatic situation. It's great to see him back in the gym."

Peter credits his daily swims and regular fitness regime as a major reason he has got back on his feet so quickly, but he also says meditation techniques - which he's happy to teach to interested locals - have been key.

"I was told to take it easy, but of course I was back swimming quickly. The meditation and warming breath helps too, I'm almost never depressed - it's helped me now and frankly it helped me through my wife dying."

Peter added: "I've had my shock. Through step-children, I've got grandchildren, and now I'm aiming to live to 100!"