“WITHOUT that man I would be dead. Simple as that.”

Those are the words of John Clark, who says the fast-thinking actions of a passing stranger saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the way back from the shops back in March.

John had been on his way home when he collapsed in Newbury Road, near the entrance to King Arthurs Way. Members of the public came to his aid, administering CPR and calling an ambulance, which later took him hospital where he remained for over a week.

Or at least, that’s what he’s told by his wife, Selena, and the nurses, doctors, ambulance staff and passers-by who helped him, because John himself can’t remember a moment of the ordeal.

“I can only remember coming up the road with my shopping and 10 days later I woke up,” he said. “No white lights, not that I’m aware of. Just darkness, no pain, no nothing.”

The 72-year-old has since been told that various members of the public stopped to help when they saw him collapse.

John says a pair of “Polish chaps” were the first to arrive at the scene, followed by two young women, another two men, Jim and Keith, got involved, with Keith administering CPR.

“It was the last gentleman who brought me back around,” said John. “But they all played their part in this and that’s why I am here today.

“He then checked if there was a pulse. There was no pulse, I was blue apparently. I was dead.

“He was getting tired [administering CPR] I believe but then the ambulance arrived.”

One person who wasn’t at the scene was John’s wife, Selena.

“I was down town and coming home on the bus,” she said, “and just as the bus was coming into the estate, I saw the ambulances.

“And then when I came down [to the house] there was a policeman. He said, ‘your husband’s collapsed and he’s on his way to Winchester hospital.’”

Officers then took Selena to see John in Winchester, where she was informed that her husband would be taken to Basingstoke where he would eventually be kept to 10 days.

By the time Selena had arrived there, John had already been under the knife.

“I said, ‘does he need an operation?’ And he said, ‘I’ve already done it!’ Everybody there was amazing.”

Since the event, John has been able to track down some of the people who helped him on the day he collapsed.

Thanks to his daughter-in-law’s efforts on Facebook, they were able to track down the two women from the scene. And a chance conversation with John’s window cleaner revealed the identity of Jim.

“One day the window cleaner came in and I said I had a cardiac arrest, and he said, ‘I know someone who was there.’ And next time he came over he said it was Jim, and he gave me his number.”

John was also able to get in touch with Keith, who he credits with saving his life.

“He was ever so pleased,” said John. “When I went up to see him on the Saturday they were delighted to see me. Because he succeeded. The last time he saw me I was dead.

“I said, ‘I owe you my life’,” John added. “If he hadn’t done what he did I would not be here.

“Although he gave me a sore chest after the CPR!” he quipped.

As well as tracking down the members of the public who stopped to help, John has been in contact with the nurses, doctors and paramedics who played such a key role in saving his life.

He recently went to visit the three ambulance staff who help him, who again were delighted to see him and insisted on taking a group photo.

“He got his picture taken with them. I call them his Charlie’s Angels,” said Selena.

But despite tracking down some of those who saved him, there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing.

John said: “It would just tie up that last little link about these two Polish chaps. They were the first ones on the scene and then the two girls and Jim and Keith.”

He added: “I would like to see them again, the people involved. Because if he [Keith] hadn’t have been there I would not be here – I can assure you.”

Until then, John and Selena have thanked each and every person who helped him defy the odds that day.

John said: “We have nothing but praise for everyone involved in this. From civilians right through to the NHS and ambulance staff – everybody.

“We just can’t say enough about how kind people were,” he added.