Chris Teideman, 64, from Easthampstead, had to be airlifted to Grenoble Hospital when a stent in his heart – which had been fitted following a heart attack a decade ago – got blocked.

The experience prompted Mr Teideman and his wife Jeannette, also 64, to go on a St John Ambulance first aid course organised by the Weekender’s sister paper the Bracknell News and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Backing St John’s Save A Life September initiative, the couple are now urging people to attend one of the charity’s short lifesaving demonstrations next month and, ideally, sign up for a first aid training course.

Mr Teideman said: “The course gave me some sound knowledge of first aid, which I think everyone should know.

“It’s much better to be in a position where you can try to help someone who needs first aid – it could be the difference between life and death.

“I give my full backing to the Save A Life September campaign and would urge others to go and watch a demonstration or sign up to a first aid course.” Mr and Mrs Teideman had just finished their first-ever skiing lesson when he suffered excruciating pains in his chest while on holiday in January.

Mr Teideman, a retired truck driver, had previously had two stents fitted following a heart attack over a decade ago.

He recognised the symptoms and sought immediate help from the team at a medical centre, which was just 60 yards away.

Staff there twice used a defibrillator to resusciate him and the good fortune of being next to a medical centre made the couple realise the importance of first aid and sign up for the training course in June.

Mr Teideman said: “They nearly broke my ribs trying to save me and my ribs are still out of joint. I have lumps all over the place where I never had lumps before.” Mr Teideman was subsequently airlifted to Grenoble Hospital where surgeons were able to unblock the stent.

His health is now being monitored but he may need a new stent fitting this Christmas.

He said: “I don’t remember the helicopter journey to hospital in Grenoble either, because I fainted. I was in the same hospital as racing driver Michael Schumacher.” Mr Teideman said that lesson would be his “first and last” experience of skiing.

He said: “If I return to the Alps it will be to see the view and I might go sledging!”