HE was back with his pals less than a month after he almost died.

Sam Mangoro returned to Mountbatten School, Romsey, just three weeks after suffering a heart attack in a PE lesson.

He was all smiles when stepping back on to school grounds, hugging and high-fiving friends and teachers alike.

His return was to thank staff whose quick actions with a defibrillator saved his life.

Now he looks forward to a brighter future after having an internal defibrillator, or ICD, fitted to prevent another attack.

He said: “I cannot put how grateful I am into words. I don't know how to thank everyone or what to say but what they did was amazing.

Sam was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and spent three weeks on Ocean Ward at Southampton General Hospital.

The ICD will monitor his heart rate and can shock him should there be any problems.

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His mum Lynda (above) said she was very reassured by the technology, which is wirelessly connected to the hospital and can alert staff to any problems.

She said: “It can literally shock him in the same way as an external defibrillator. It is amazing technology. There's nothing they can do to fix the damage to Sam's heart but they can prevent it happening again so we are very, very blessed.”

Lynda, whose 11-year-old son Jacob also attends Mountbatten, added: “So many people have played a part in Sam being here today. I cannot express my thanks to everyone at the school, the police, Ocean Ward, the paramedics. He just had amazing care.”

The Daily Echo launched the Save a Life in Schools campaign in the wake of the incident to encourage all Hampshire schools to get a defibrillator and possibly save lives in the future, something Sam is keen to support.

Sam said: “I think this might have been meant to happen so that people can know how important defibrillators are. I'm fully behind the Echo campaign. I just want to spread this message as wide as I can now and I have also started a charity to raise money to help schools buy defibrillators.”

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Head teacher Heather McIlroy and other staff could not keep the smiles off their faces when seeing Sam again.

For school pastoral manager Lyn Lovell it was an emotional experience as she was the teacher who used the defibrillator on Sam.

She said: “It just goes to show how easy it is to use one of these even without training as it tells you what to do. It's been so moving to see Sam back here as I saw him at his lowest point and now at this high point.”

Sam will be back in classes after Easter and is due to take his GCSEs this summer.

  • “I KNEW I was going to survive.”

Those were the words of Sam Mangoro, speaking for the first time publically about his near-death experience.

“I cannot remember anything about that day and I'm not sure I knew what was going on. My parents told me a few times what happened but it took days to sink in.

“I remember my parents and different doctors telling me things and I kept hearing the same story but it was strange because it felt like it had happened to somebody else.”

Sam added he was always convinced he would pull through and would spend his life trying to make sure others don't suffer the fate he could have.

Sam has already raised more than £500 with friends at school staging charity runs to support him.