A DUNFERMLINE man helped save a surfer’s life after a dramatic rescue effort on a beach in St Andrews.

Lewis Hamilton raced into action with his friends after Bill Shackman had a heart attack and collapsed on East Sands.

“It was all a bit of a blur,” Lewis, 29, told the Press.

“It had been a great morning for surfing and as I walking back to the car to get a coffee and a rest, my friend, Scott, ran right past me without his board and with his wetsuit only half done up.

“Next thing I know, the man that I had just walked past, Bill, had collapsed and was face down on the sand.”

The incident happened at around midday on December 8 and Lewis, Scott and other bystanders on the beach were quick in attending to Bill, 47.

“Between us, we took it in turns to carry out CPR and rescue breaths,” Lewis reflected.

“In that time, someone else had run to get the defibrillator and another person had got scissors to cut his wetsuit open.

“As we did that, the defibrillator registered a shock until we finally got a pulse and he started to breathe on his own again.

“By that point, the RNLI had arrived and the ambulance was coming. I think he was without oxygen for between 10 and 15 minutes.

“He was taken away on a stretcher into the ambulance and, thankfully, he was okay.

“It all happened so fast and it felt like forever waiting on the ambulance to get there. It was pretty intense.

“Scott is in the army and is a trained lifeguard; a doctor was on hand to get the AED (Automated External Defibrillator), and my friends and I had advanced first aid training as well.

“I work offshore so I’ve had first aid training numerous times in the past.

“It was a carbon copy of the videos they show you while taking these first aid courses. Although you know how serious it is, you never think that you’ll actually need to use it.”

Bill was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and it was discovered that he had a serious genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which can be managed now that it has been diagnosed.

A relieved Lewis was thankful to hear that Bill was now recovering with his family but knows it could have been a different outcome.

Lewis added: “He’s got young kids so it was quite an emotional time over Christmas for them.

“It was quite scary, as it was a pure adrenaline rush. It was good to have Scott there, who was calm in that moment and offered that reassurance.

“It wasn’t until I had got home that I started to process what had actually happened.

“There’s some parts that I can’t fully remember and I keep thinking of the part I played in it and whether what I did was right or not.

“It could have been an entirely different thought process when I got home if he hadn’t made it.

“When Scott found out that Bill had kids, it made me realise just how lucky we were that we were able to save him.”

Bill’s wife, Emily Michelson, has started an online fundraiser for British Heart Foundation as the charity is conducting research into the heart condition Bill has.

She said: “Thanks to the heroic intervention by fellow surfers and beach bystanders – some with professional medical training – his life was saved and he is now well on the road to recovery.

“Every pound helps so please give what you can to help us hit our target. Thanks!”

More than £1,500 has already been raised and you can donate online here.