A FIRST-AIDER leapt to the rescue when a great-grandfather was choking on a piece of steak.
Norman Eede was having dinner with his wife Sylvia in The Star in Gosport High Street when he began to choke on his steak.
After hearing 20 seconds of coughing, Erika Tavener, who works at St Vincent College in Mill Road, Gosport, rushed over to the 70-year-old, who had fallen to the floor. She performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.
Finally, after two minutes of attention from Erika, the trapped piece of meat became dislodged from Norman’s windpipe.
He said: ‘My wife was telling me to cough but I just couldn’t do it and I really started to panic.
‘I got myself in serious trouble and thank goodness Erika was there. I thought I was going to die.
‘I’m still quite shaken up about, it was awful.
‘Erika’s my hero. She really did save my life.’
Erika, 40, who is a trained first aider, was taking the college’s health and social care students out for their farewell meal at the time of the incident.
While she rushed over to attend to Norman, student, Joshua Pemberton, 19, comforted Sylvia who was ‘very upset’ while Norman was choking.
Erika, of Hill Head, said: ‘We were just about to leave when it happened. I went straight over to him,
‘It took about two minutes and you could just feel the relief in the room when we finally got the steak out.
‘I’ve had to help someone out before but it wasn’t in a situation like that where it was so noisy and so busy.
‘I was just happy that I was there to help him.’
Erika also praised Joshua’s attitude in going over to comfort Sylvia, 82. She added: ‘He went straight over, tried to relax her and was saying all the right things.
‘I was listening to him and it made me proud – Sylvia told me that he had restored her faith in young people.’
Norman echoed the praise for the teenager, saying his actions were ‘marvellous’.
Norman, of Leventhorpe Court, Gosport, is now feeling much better following the incident but admits his throat is still sore.
He also wished to thank the staff of The Star, with the manageress of the store sitting with Norman for about two hours after the incident.