A grandmother has thanked the off-duty policeman who saved her life after she started choking on a piece of pizza.
Brenda Wright, 65, of Howard’s Meadow, King’s Cliffe, was enjoying a meal with a friend at Pizza Express in Stamford when disaster struck.
Brenda, who likes her food hot and spicy, had poured some chilli oil onto her favourite pizza, the volcanic Etna. As she chewed a bite the extra spiciness took her by surprise, and the food got stuck in her windpipe.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Brenda. “I’ve got a new grandson, Hugo, and my only thought was that I wasn’t going to see him again.”
Brenda’s friend tried the Heimlich manoeuvre to eject the piece of pizza, but to no avail. Suddenly a man ran up to her.
Brenda said: “He told me to do exactly as he said. Three times he tried the manoeuvre and it didn’t work. But on the fourth time it did.”
She added: “It didn’t work again and again and I thought ‘this is it’.”
The man turned out to be an off-duty policeman who was out for dinner with his young son. Brenda said thank you at the time, but in the rush of the moment forgot to ask for the man’s name.
She now wants to give him a message and say thank you for his heroic actions.
“I’m very fortunate to still be here,” Brenda said. “I don’t think there was anyone else in the restaurant who would have been able to save me.”
She added: “I want to thank him for the rest of my life - because I have still got one.
“I went away this weekend to the Yorkshire Dales and had a lovely time. But I kept thinking, if it hadn’t have been for that man, my husband would have been planning my funeral.”
Brenda is able to laugh about incident now, and said it was something that was “easily done”. Her love for spicy foods has not changed, despite the drama of her visit to Pizza Express. And she hasn’t ruled out ordering an Etna again.
But with a note of caution she said: “I think I might be a bit more careful with the chilli oil from now on.”
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