POTHOLES get a bad press, but for one Wilton man a badly repaired road may just have helped save his life.

Ray Lee, 65, was exercising on a cross trainer at home when he was taken ill.

His heart rate had gone up to a life-threatening 186 beats per minute and he needed to get to hospital as quickly as possible.

But as the ambulance raced along Netherhampton Road towards Salisbury District Hospital, it hit a pothole and the bump was so great that Mr Lee’s heart rate suddenly dropped back to a healthy 60 beats a minute.

“I’d been cursing the council for months about the state of the roads but now I never want them to fill in another pothole again,” he said.

“I was on a stretcher in the back of the ambulance and suddenly there was a huge jolt as we hit a pothole.

“I remember feeling myself lift off the bed and everyone in the ambulance jumped.

“After that my heart rate was back to 60.

“I was told afterwards they would have done a procedure in the hospital to stop the spasm in my heart, but driving over the pothole did the trick.”

The retired grandfather-of-three has been told he was suffering a suspected ventricular aneurysm, possibly as a result of a heart attack he had 21 years ago.

Mr Lee spent two days in hospital, had several tests and has been told to take it easy, but says he feels well and is thanking his “pot luck”.

“It was pretty scary, particularly for my wife Christine,” he said.

“But I felt a bit of a fraud by the time I got to A&E and my heart rhythm was normal.

“I can’t say the pothole alone saved me – the wonderful paramedics and doctors did that – but bumping over it did make things easier.

“We were travelling at such a speed and my wife was watching the traffic move out of the way but it was quite a jolt – the whole ambulance shook,” he said.

“Without the appalling condition of Wiltshire Council’s roads I might not have had such an easy time.

“I guess there are some potholes that ruin your car and others that save your life.”