They knew him only as Deon, the neighbour to whom they said “Hello” on the stairs, but from now he’ll be known to them as the man who saved their daughter’s life.

Deon Schroven rushed to the aid of a distraught, Martin and Rachel Drake, after their two-year-old daughter, Lucy, passed out in the bath and stopped breathing.

Remaining cool in crisis, Deon was able to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR, which paramedics say saved the little girl’s life.

The toddler had been bathing with her mother, when Rachel stepped out of the tub for a second to reach for a towel and the little girl suffered what doctors have since diagnosed as a febrile convulsion and slipped under the water.

Rachel explained: “As I pulled her up, her eyes had rolled back into her head and I knew there was something wrong.”

Rachel grabbed her daughter and rushed into the bedroom. Martin bent Lucy over and pressed her tummy which brought up some bath water, but the girl showed no signs of reviving.

“She was completely lifeless,” said Martin, 25.

He dialled 999 and then in desperation ran out onto the landing outside the couple’s flat in Hollman Drive, Romsey and banged on a neighbour’s door.

Luckily Deon, 39, was at home and he knew first aid.

“Deon took control of the situation straight away,” said Martin. “He gave Lucy mouth-to-mouth and then pumped her chest.”

Deon’s wife, Cheryl, stayed on the phone to the ambulance HQ throughout Saturday morning’s drama.

Rachel,22, admitted she was in a “state of sheer panic” and had to leave the room.

Within three minutes of Deon’s arrival, Lucy re-gained consciousness.

Meanwhile the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance had landed on the playing field of the nearby Romsey School. Martin had gone to meet the medics and when he returned to the flats, he said: “I could hear Lucy crying. It was such a relief. If she was crying, that meant she was alive.”

“We can’t say how grateful we are to Deon,” said Martin.

South African-born Deon explained that he’d done a first aid course at work about three years ago.

“I hoped I’d never have to do it for real though, he said. “I did what anyone would have done. I’m just glad that Lucy is alright.”

Lucy was taken to Southampton General Hospital and kept in overnight for observation before being allowed home on Sunday afternoon having suffered no ill-effects from her ordeal.

Martin said the doctors were not sure what caused the convulsion but think it may have been the result of a sudden rise in her temperature brought on by a throat infection.

Martin and Rachel must now wait to see whether or not this was a one-off incident.

In the meantime Martin has vowed to undergo first aid training and his employers, Southern Neon in Southampton, have said they will pay for the course.