by Hannah Start

Members of the specially trained group, drawn from the Neighbourhood Watch, will work on a rota basis and respond to emergency calls.

   The life-saving 20-strong team, from Lund, are all able to do life-support and use a special heart-start machine capable of electronically kick-starting a heart.

   They have been given intensive training with the defibrillator by paramedics from Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and will be called by their control room.

   For every minute that passes after a cardiac arrest, the patients chances of survival diminish by 10 per cent.

   Chief ambulance officer Steve Spurling said: The essence of the scheme is to begin effective treatment before the ambulance arrives.