A FATHER admitted he would have died at the wheel of his campervan if it had not been for his quick-thinking teenage children.

Kevin Holborn suffered a cardiac arrest while at a set of traffic lights on the A350 Holes Bay Road, with his daughter Ali and son Dan in the vehicle on the way home from school.

Ali, 15, phoned the ambulance service and began to perform CPR while her dad was still in his seat. Dan, 13, phoned their mum Theresa to alert her of the serious situation, which took place on January 15.

Passerby Dan Smith stopped and helped remove Kevin from the car and took over CPR until the ambulance service arrived.

The 60-year-old was shocked six or seven times by a defibrillator before his heart started beating again. It had stopped for around 30 minutes.

Instead of going to nearby Poole Hospital, he went straight to cardiology specialists at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, who put a stent in to deal with a ruptured artery.

Kevin was then transferred to intensive care before waking up from a coma two days later, with no recollection of what happened. He soon learned that his children had saved his life.

“It is just unbelievable,” said Kevin. “Without them doing what they did, I basically wouldn’t be here, as simple as that. It could have been so different.

“There was a lot of fate going on that day. Ali was in the car for the first time on a Wednesday. There was an ambulance coming the other way that turned round. The other ambulance arrived very quickly. A lovely man pulled over and dragged me out and helped Ali do the CPR. A helicopter paramedic who wasn’t flying that day was in the area.

“All those things, when you weigh it all up, you think I couldn’t have had it any better.”

Kevin, a director of his own electrical engineering and building development company, collected his children from Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester and had almost made it to their home in Poole.

Ali said her dad had complained of chest pains and told her he wanted to get home and have an early night, however, his condition deteriorated rapidly.

He put the handbrake on at the traffic lights by the Mercedes-Benz garage before becoming unresponsive.

Ali, who learned CPR just a matter of weeks before the incident as part of a health and social care course at school, quickly realised what had happened. She phoned 999 and started chest compressions.

“I did CPR as part of a course at school a couple of weeks ago and I got an equivalent of the top grade for it,” she said. “If I asked 95 per cent of my friends, they would have no idea what to do. It is not just doing the correct amount of compressions, it is how you hold your hands. Even the smallest amount of blood going to the brain makes the biggest difference.

“I am usually relatively calm in situations, so I tried to keep it all together. I was worried for my brother and we were both upset.”

Brother Dan said: “In the end there were three ambulances and two police cars. It was scary but my sister did a lot of it as she has done it at school. Dad has promised to take us to Florida to say thank you.”

Theresa, who made it to the scene while CPR was ongoing, said: “I am so proud of them. It was terrifying. Instantly when I got there the paramedics told me how wonderful the children had been, especially Ali who had done the CPR. They said she had saved his life.”

Rob McCormick, intensive care consultant at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, took over Kevin's care after he had been woken up on the unit.

“When we talk about cardiac arrests we talk about a chain of survival,” said Dr McCormick. “The chain of survival is early intervention, early chest compressions, early defibrillation and early advanced care.

“The bit in the hospital is the advanced care but you are wasting your time doing that if you have not had the other stages.

“Ali had been taught how to do CPR at school two weeks earlier and not all school kids are taught that.

“Her response shows that teaching school kids works. If Ali had not done chest compressions, her father might not be sat up chatting to his family in a hospital bed.”

Dr McCormick said Ali’s swift decision to begin CPR both saved her father’s life and helped prevent serious brain damage.

“It is not just about doing CPR,” he added. “Ali had the presence of mind to recognise what was happening, know that she needed to get help, know that she needed to start doing chest compressions and I am not sure most 15-year-olds would know how to do that.”

'Absolutely phenomenal': Visit bournemouthecho.co.uk tomorrow to read the incredible praise the Holborns have for the emergency services and NHS