A man who intervened to save a young mum and her baby from certain death in a hospital in Sierra Leone 27 years ago has just returned from attending a very special wedding.

The extraordinary story began when Dr Keith Thomson, 71, of Winkfield Road, North Ascot, was a volunteer working with medical teams that travelled in 'mercy ships' to Africa to perform life saving surgery.

He said: "I heard an 18-year-old girl moaning behind a curtain in the labour ward. They told me she would die because she needed a Caesarian and could not pay the £70 needed to do it."

Keith paid it himself.

It was the beginning of a great friendship. Catherine moved to Guinea at a time of political turmoil and Keith was able to help again when he used his contacts to rescue her husband Augustine who had been imprisoned by the Government.

Last year Keith - who is a grandfather of two - found that he needed help from Catherine after undergoing a major jaw operation..

His jaw had to be rebuilt using bone from his leg and he and his wife Fiona needed support as he begin his recuperation.

Catherine was living in Australia where she and her daughter Regina were both nurses.

Keith said: "I rang Catherine from the hospital to ask for help and she came over with four days notice. She had to feed me because my jaw was not working and spent nine days here nursing me."

Now Keith has just returned from attending the wedding of Regina, the little girl whose life he saved along with her mother's all those years ago.

He said: "She married another Australian migrant also born in Freetown - called Sahr Koroma."

Keith, who worked as an anaesthetist at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, and Ascot’s Heatherwood Hospital, spent his holidays for 20 years volunteering on the 'mercy ships'.

He still helps others. In recent years he has regularly visited Uganda, helping fund people who need treatment for disfiguring facial tumours.