THREE young lifeguards have won medals for saving the life of a disabled man in Bricket Wood Swimming Pool - just a week before its closure left them jobless.

Nathan Law, 18, of Howland Garth, St Albans, Mike Pocock, 21, of Tansicroft, Welwyn Garden City, and Amber Cooper-Groves, 18, of Pine Grove, Bricket Wood, kept Ian Gray of Abbots Langley alive for 20 minutes after pulling him apparently lifeless from the four-metre pool bottom.

Along with 80-year-old club volunteer Dennis Read who helped them, they were given medals on Monday at the annual general meeting of the Salmon Club for disabled swimmers. They also met a very grateful Mr Gray, who was rescued at the club's last session in the doomed pool on Saturday, February 20.

Club chairman Chris Bowles, who has worked as a paramedic, said: "After only ten minutes of CPR (cardiopulmonary resucutation), the prognosis is poor. After 20 minutes it wasn't looking good at all.

"It could easily have ended as a fatality.

"But the youngsters stood up to the plate and really showed their training."

Nathan, who like his colleagues was employed by the district council's contractor Leisure Connection, said: "Ian was swimming from the deep end to the shallow end and suddenly he dropped to the bottom.

"Dennis and I got him out of the pool - he wasn't breathing.

"We started CPR - Mike and I were doing chest compressions and Amber was doing mouth to mouth"

"The other club members were really scared, but they were all sent to the changing rooms.

"CPR is really tiring so Amber took over the chest compressions for the last stretch.

"After 20 minutes the ambulance people turned up - that was a big relief."

Mike said: "It was great to meet Ian - he was really grateful.

"He had a stroke some years ago but this was his first time in the pool after some months and I think he must have had a problem with his heart."

A week later, the three were made redundant, and they are still out of work.

Amber, who had worked at the pool for two years, said: "I really enjoyed working there. It is a real shame it closed."