COASTGUARD officials who saved their colleague’s life when he went into cardiac arrest during a training exercise have been honoured for their actions.

Volunteer Matt Lees was in the water at Avon Beach on the night of September 19 last year when he suddenly lost consciousness.

His teammates quickly pulled him back to the shore, but discovered he wasn’t breathing and he had no pulse.

Victoria White, the senior coastal operations officer running the water rescue training session, ran to find the nearest defibrillator in a nearby car park while other members of the team carried out CPR.

The coastguards then used the defibrillator to get Mr Lees’ heart beating again before paramedics arrived.

Mr Lees was taken to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where it was later discovered he suffers from an undiagnosed underlying heart condition caused by blocked arteries to the heart.

After a minor surgery, he has since made a full recovery and has even gone back to his post as a coastguard volunteer for Southbourne.

Earlier this week, the five officers who saved Mr Lees’ life – Phill Brolan, Marc Reddy, Andrew Brown and Mark Cunningham, as well as Ms White – were presented with the Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate, the HM Coastguard’s Commendation for Meritorious Service, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Chief Executive Health and Safety Award during an event at Christchurch Sailing Club.

Speaking after the event, Mr Lees said: “I am so grateful to the team for what they did.

“Their professionalism and dedication to training, without a doubt, saved my life.

“Their skills were on point and everyone fell into their roles of the lifesaving and resuscitation.

“Without that things would have turned out differently for sure.”

Ms White said: “The team is trained to deal with a variety of incidents but you never expect the casualty to be one of your own.

“They switched from training mode to real life in a split second.

“I am so proud of the team for their courage in the face of adversity - they are both an inspiration and a pleasure to work with.”