North Shields hiker thanks air ambulance for saving his life

A North Shields hiker has thanked emergency services for saving his life after taking ill on top of a fell in the Lake District.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 9:00 am
Stephen Dunlop and his wife Marion on Catbells, in the Lake District, just before he took ill.

Stephen Dunlop had just reached the top of a steep fell walk on Catbells with his wife Marion when he collapsed with what he thought was a sudden bout of bad indigestion.

Unfortunately for the 65-year-old, it turned out to be much something much worse when he began to feel sharp stabbing pains in his chest.

He said: “I got to the top of the fell with my wife and I was taking photos when I started to feel unwell. It started with the pains, but I just passed it off as indigestion.”

Mrs Dunlop decided to phone for help but with no phone reception, she began to panic but luckily they were joined on the fell by other walkers who rushed to Mr Dunlop’s side.

Mrs Dunlop said: “I screamed ‘my husband is having chest pains does anyone have any signal’ and a man who was with his family shouted ‘I do’ and rang for help.

“It wasn’t long until mountain rescue arrived, and they set off the flare to let the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) know where we were.”

As the seconds turned into minutes, Mr Dunlop could feel himself deteriorating fast. He said: “I started to be sick and then everything was a blur.

“When GNAAS arrived, I was in a bad way and I was panicking but they managed to make me feel at ease straight away.

“I just remember them saying to me ‘it will only be 10 minutes’ which really reassured me and then before I knew it, I was at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.”

Mr Dunlop who is a huge fan of Emergency Helicopter Medics, the More4 series which features the GNAAS team, recognized the clinicians that came to his rescue that day, 14 May 2019.

He told them: “I didn’t think I would ever be using you."

Mr Dunlop found out in hospital that he had had a heart attack and underwent surgery to unblock his artery. Following this, he then caught pneumonia and had to return to hospital.

He said: “I am still not 100 per cent but I am getting there. They told me at hospital I am a very lucky man and that’s exactly how I feel.

“GNAAS is a brilliant charity and without them I would not be here.”

GNAAS is raising money to become a 24 hour service. Please visit to see how you can help.