Grandfather's thanks to heroes who gave him 20 years of life by restarting his heart on Leeds Station platform

A grandfather gifted 20 years of life by strangers who re-started his heart on a station platform has hailed the wonders of technology as he gives thanks to those that saved him.

Barry North with wife Denise and son Charles, then aged 13, pictured by The Yorkshire Post as he recovered in hospital in 2001.

Barry North, now 85 and of Guiseley, collapsed and effectively died after suffering four cardiac arrests at Leeds Station on October 2, 2001, before two men rushed to his aid.

Railway workers Dave Clarke and Paul Bishop, who knew how to use a defibrillator, saved Mr North that day as they brought him back and battled for 45 minutes to keep him alive.

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Now, as he marks today's 20-year anniversary by reuniting with his saviour, Mr North has spoken of his gratitude and joy, and the wonders of technology.

Barry and Denise North, pictured today as they prepare to mark 20 years.

"This is my second life," he said. "Every day I wake up and think it's a blessing to be here.

"I just hope to make people aware that efforts being made are worth it. I've had an extra 20 years of life, those 20 years were rather important."

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Mr North had called his wife Denise at 3.30pm that day to say he would be home early for dinner and that he would be catching a train at 4pm.

Barry North, pictured by The Yorkshire Post as he recovered in hospital in 2001, with his two rescuers Dave Clarke and Paul Bishop

He never arrived, and it was hours later that Mrs North and their son Charles, 13 at the time, were told he might not make it.

"He bought his ticket at 3.58pm, the train was leaving at 4.02pm," said Mrs North. "It was those four minutes, between life and death."

Cardiologists and nursing teams at LGI fitted Mr North with a defibrillator and, after months in intensive care and high dependency, he was allowed home on Christmas Eve.

"The defibrillator had a nine-year battery," said Mrs North. "We didn't think at the time he would live that long. We didn't think he would live 20 weeks, never mind 20 years.

"Something good can happen when a lot of people help. And they were there, in the right place, at the right time. It's just remarkable. We are eternally grateful.

"It saves lives. It's having the equipment, and knowing how to use it, that is so important."

Heroes

Nurses had told Mrs North there were calls every day from someone at Leeds Station, who never left a name, then a bouquet of flowers.

"It took a lot to find them, but I did find them," she said, of the two men who saved her husband and whom she later met to thank.

"They walked me down the platform, to where it happened, and said 'my, but your husband is stubborn, he wasn't giving in'.

"Barry was lucky. Had it happened when he was walking down the street, he wouldn't have been. It could be a young, fit person, or someone aged 65. You just never know."

The family has kept in touch over the years with their lifesavers, although Mr Clarke now lives in Poland. Today, to mark 20 years, Mr Bishop will join the family for a celebratory slice of heart-shaped cake, baked by Mr North's godson in Beverley, and a Zoom call with his three sons at 4pm exactly.

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