AN AMBLESIDE pensioner has thanked the ‘first class’ care he received at a specialist hospital after suffering a heart attack on a Lake District fell.

Fell-walking veteran Alec Burford, 80, was walking with friends on Holme Fell, located between Coniston Water and Little Langdale, when he began to feel tightening in his chest.

Coniston Mountain Rescue team was scrambled and Mr Burford, a retired civil engineer, was flown by the North West Air Ambulance NWAA) to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital cardiac unit.

After three days of ‘five-star hotel’ treatment he was back in the comfort of his Lake District home with wife Margaret.

“Nothing was too much trouble and the gold star treatment that I received was quite exceptional,” he said.

“What a wonderful service our NHS provides.”

Recalling the crisp morning of September 10, Mr Burford said he had set out just before 10am with a walking group and began feeling a ‘grumbling’ on the approach to the summit.

“It was only on the way back to the shoulder that the imaginary band round my chest tightened and I began to feel nauseous.

“I quickly realised that my planned day on the fells was not going to happen.”

Walking partners Barbara Crompton and Carolyn Bradley dialled for help and within 30 minutes the mountain rescue team had arrived, shortly followed by the NWAA who flew Mr Burford to the unit in just 13 minutes.

“Within two hours I had been diagnosed, analysed, clot busted, washed out and had a stent inserted into my coronary artery.

“Over the three days I was not only continuously monitored but x-rayed and checked out - I have never had so much attention during my whole life.”

Mr Burford also praised the mountain rescue team and the air ambulance for their efforts.