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QUICK-thinking swimming pool staff were today hailed as heroes after their efforts saved the life of an Ipswich grandmother.

QUICK-thinking swimming pool staff were today hailed as heroes after their efforts saved the life of an Ipswich grandmother.

Jean Westley is lucky to be alive after she suffered a suspected heart attack, causing her pulse to stop, during her regular swim at Crown Pools leisure centre.

Fortunately, lifeguards and pool workers spotted the 62-year-old before rescuing her from the water and using a defibrillator to start her heart again.

Her grateful husband Arthur today heaped praise on the Crown Pools team and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for saving his wife's life.

Mr Westley, of Cedarcroft Road, said: “The staff at Crown Pools saved her life. The whole family are so grateful.

“My family cannot thank them enough.

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“I do not know what happened because apparently she just stopped swimming and curled up. There was no warning - it happened so suddenly. She had no pain in her arm or anything.

“The lifeguards saw her and jumped in. Her pulse had stopped so they used a defibrillator to bring her back.

“Apparently the ambulance crew were very impressed with what they did.”

Mrs Westley, who is retired and swims twice a week, was kept in Ipswich Hospital for just over a week and then was transferred to Papworth Hospital for further tests.

Medics say she is well on the road to recovery.

Mr Westley, 64, was first alerted to the drama after receiving a call from a doctor at Ipswich Hospital, who told him what had happened.

He rushed to be by her bedside along with their daughters, Tracy and Debbie, son-in-law Carl, and grandson Louis.

A Crown Pools spokesman said the rescue had been “a real team effort”.

“All staff within Team Ipswich's Sports Service are trained to a very high level of first aid and this rescue was a textbook operation,” he said.

“Within minutes of having a suspected heart attack, Jean was brought back to life by the prompt actions of our team.”

Judy Terry, portfolio holder for arts, culture and leisure at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “I'm so glad to hear of Mrs Westley's recovery and I'm so proud of out dedicated Crown Pools team who helped her after this very sad incident.”

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Lifeguards Jason Fenton and Justin Wedderburn spotted Mrs Westley in difficulty while swimming in the competition pool. Suspecting a heart attack, the pair quickly pulled her out of the water.

Seeing that there were no signs of life, Justin immediately began giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Next on the scene was Brian Clark, fitness suites manager, who had responded to the pool alarm. He massaged her heart while Justin continued giving mouth to mouth.

Lifeguard Ben Matthews and duty manager Tom Parrish, who had also responded to the pool alarm, brought blankets and a defibrillator.

Then swimming co-ordinator Maxine Smith took over the heart massage while the defibrillator was attached to Mrs Westley.

As there was still no response, staff were then dramatically forced to deliver a lifesaving electric shock directly through her heart. Within seconds she was breathing on her own and able to answer questions.