“IF I was anywhere else other than the fire station, I would be six feet under,” was the message from a thankful firefighter.

David Ling, crew manager at Stockbridge Fire Station, found himself in the right place at the right time on February 19, when during a weekly drill one night, he had a heart attack.

He collapsed on the drill yard and his colleagues quickly performed life-saving CPR with the aid of a defibrillator and oxygen therapy. The watch manager then travelled with him in the ambulance and continued to work to keep him alive.

Now, colleagues Joshua Barnes, Alistair Reynolds, Ben Sherfield, Gary Taplin, Glen Foster, crew manager Ian Tranham and watch manager Rick Mawer, who saved his life, have won the Chairman’s Award at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Celebrating Success last month.

David said: “I remember going out in the backyard at 7.30pm, and that’s all I remember.

“If I’m honest if it wasn’t for those boys I would not be here. Anywhere else and I would be six feet under. I’m quite adamant about that, because they’ve done me good.”

Fire authority chairman Councillor Chris Carter said: “Our firefighters are accustomed to dealing with all kinds of incidents where they save lives.

“However, having to resuscitate a colleague and friend while still remaining calm and calling on your skills and training must be among the most challenging situations one can find oneself in. This is another example of our high calibre firefighters exemplifying excellence and also the perfect way to highlight the reason we give our teams a high level of medical training.”

David was taken to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital for surgery and was put in an induced coma for several days, during which time his colleagues helped support his family through the ordeal. He praises the team at the hospital, and has since delivered biscuits to the nurses.

David added: “The fire service is like an extended family. We do some dangerous stuff together and see some awful sights together. They were there for what was my moment of need. I owe my life to the boys.”