A police officer awarded one of the country's highest life-saving honours has described her fight to bring a man back from the brink of death at a carol-singing service.

PC Kalinka SmithOwen was at a service at Middleton Lodge, Middleton Tyas, when an elderly man in the audience collapsed and stopped breathing as the final carol was being sung.

When she saw a woman nearby jump to her feet shouting 'Dad' hysterically, she rushed to help and revived the man who had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Speaking after being awarded the Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate, PC SmithOwen said: "I heard a woman shout dad, and saw an elderly male being placed on the floor by others surrounding him.

Darlington and Stockton Times: PC Kalinka SmithOwen with Lord Lieutenant Jo Ropner, left and North Yorkshire Chief Constable Lisa Winward Image: Contributor

"I immediately knew that this was a medical episode and attended to see if I could offer any assistance.

"A male, who I now know to be the son of the man was attempting CPR heart massage. I could see that his effort was limited because of his emotional state and I knelt by him and asked him to let me try.

"I could see the elderly male had passed away, and he had no pulse, I commenced heart massage and within 1.5 minutes I could feel the male beginning to respond.

"He then opened his eyes and began in a confused state, conversing with a lady that was had his head on her lap."

PC SmithOwen, who works in the vulnerability assessment team based at County Hall in Northallerton, said: "The son was very grateful and threw his arms around me for a hug - bless him.

"I am very proud to have been able to help him and have a commendation as well for a previous person I save – though in different circumstances.

"The training does help, but doesn't mean you are not shaking inside. But you've got to get on with it."

PC SmithOwen has also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

He said: "Without any shadow of doubt she was the right person in the right place at the right time.

"Others attempted to administer CPR the moment the man collapsed, but without effect.

"However, thankfully PC SmithOwen was there, had been trained in the technique and took over, with the result that the man was brought back from the brink. She did a wonderful job and richly deserves the award she is to receive.

"This is another of many cases we see which emphasise the value of as many people as possible, not just members of the emergency services, learning how to administer CPR. It can, as it did here make the difference between life and death."