We all know that having your gas appliances serviced every year is essential to staying safe and well.
But it saved the life of tenant Mrs Nora Stannard of Errol Place, Birtley, in a much more immediate way.
Mrs Stannard got in touch with us in the hope that we could find the gas engineer who almost certainly saved her life.
The day of her annual gas service, she was out at the supermarket when she began to feel unwell. Fortunately she managed to get herself home in a taxi.
Gas engineer Gavin Turnbull was already waiting at Mrs Stannard’s home in Birtley when she arrived. As soon as he saw her he could tell something was seriously wrong.
Gavin said: “She said she felt dizzy, so I sat her down in a chair and called an ambulance.”
Gavin also alerted Nora’s next-door neighbour and waited until the ambulance arrived. He’s modest about what he did, saying: “I didn’t do anything special, I’m just glad I was there at the right time.”
Mrs Stannard was actually having a stroke caused by bleeding in her brain. If she hadn’t received help as quickly as she did, she would not have survived.
She spent two and a half months in hospital, a time that she can barely remember as she was so ill.
However, once she was well enough, she was determined to thank the man who saved her life, so she contacted the housing company.
Now Mrs Stannard has fulfilled her wish, and has thanked Gavin in person.
She said: “I’m over the moon that I got the chance to meet Gavin and thank him – if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here.
“I’ve thought about him a lot, so I was chuffed when the housing company arranged for me to meet him. I want him to know how grateful I am.”
Photo: Mrs Stannard meets her hero Gavin Turnbull.