A TAKEAWAY owner has thanked the off-duty medics who saved his life during an emotional reunion.

Hamid Khazaee (62), of Riding Mill, collapsed when working behind the counter of his Simply Grill shop, in Low Fell, in Gateshead, at 2am on Sunday, September 22.

His heart had stopped and was in need of immediate medical attention.

Nurse Pippa Hocking (30) and emergency care assistant Stephen Armstrong (25) were in the queue of the takeaway after enjoying a night out, and their medical training immediately sprung into action as they administered life-saving CPR until ambulance crews arrived seven minutes later.

From his hospital bed in Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Mr Khazaee launched an emotional media appeal to find the mystery woman in the red spotty dress who had been photographed by bystanders.

Last Friday, Mr Khazaee was reunited with his life-savers.

He said: “How do you say thank you to those who can give you back your life? They are my family now.

“Without Pippa and Stephen, I simply would not be here today. It is a miracle that they were there at the right time.

“As soon as I found out what happened, I wanted to meet them in person to say thank you.”

Mr Khazaee’s daughter, Natasha, of Hexham, was equally thankful for the quick actions of Stephen and Pippa.

She said: “He is recovering really well and it is almost hard to believe that his heart had stopped beating for so long.

“You hear about these sorts of things but, until it happens to you, I don’t think you can really appreciate how important CPR training is.

“It is great to meet Pippa and Stephen, and all the other staff who helped care for him, so that we can say thank you for what they have done for our family.”

Mr Khazaee was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital following the incident, but was transferred to the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, where he underwent heart surgery.

Mr Armstrong said: “ When we went into the shop, we saw him collapse and we took it in turn to provide CPR.

“We didn’t even think about what we had done, we automatically knew he needed urgent help. I’m delighted that he’s making such a good recovery.”