A DAD has thanked a tyre garage manager for 'saving his life' after he had a heart attack while waiting there.

Ralph Webb, 57, was at Thrupp Tyres on Griffin Mill Estate, Stroud when he suffered a heart attack and the manager, Dean Ebbrell, jumped into action and drove him straight to Stroud Hospital.

Dad-of-two Ralph, a widower, said that Dean "basically saved my life" and pointed out that he was "lucky to be alive" because, if his tyre hadn't have been punctured on the way to work, he would have been driving on the M4 when the heart attack struck.

Ralph, who lives in Stonehouse and works as a journalist for Newbury Today, was at the garage at just after 8am on Thursday when the drama began. He experienced chest pains which spread into both his arms.

Dean, 59, told the SNJ: "I noticed he was looking very white and I could tell he wasn't well, so I asked him whether he needed to go to hospital."

When Ralph said yes, Dean helped him into his car and rushed him to Stroud Hospital.

"He dropped everything and drove me to hospital," said Ralph. "He basically saved my life and I cannot thank him enough."

Dean, who has worked at Thrupp Tyres for 18 years, added: "It did not matter that we had never met, it was just a case of 'let's go'."

Dean dropped Ralph off at the entrance, leaving him with hospital staff, and found somewhere to park before returning to be told that Ralph had been taken for tests.

Ralph was then transported to Cheltenham General Hospital where he had two blood clots removed.

"Stroud hospital and Cheltenham hospital were amazing, they took me in straight away," said Ralph.

"There is some damage" he added, "but it would have been 10 times worse if Dean hadn't acted so quickly.

"Dean had never met me before, that is what makes it just fantastic and a truly selfless act."

Ralph had never suffered heart problems before and said the sudden cardiac arrest could have ended his life.

"An experience like this really makes you think," he said. "If I hadn't got a puncture, I would have been driving on the M4 to work like every other day instead of the garage."