THE family of a schoolboy struck by lightning on Wednesday are keeping a bedside vigil at Frenchay Hospital.

Joe Compton’s relatives have thanked the town for its support following the freakish incident, in which the 11-year-old was hit outside his school, Dorcan Academy He received first aid from school staff and workers at Dorcan Recreation Centre after going into cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived.

He was then taken to Great Western Hospital and later transferred to Frenchay in Bristol.

In a statement, Joe’s family thanked the quick-thinking staff for their heroic actions.

They said: “Joe is in a stable condition at Frenchay Hospital with his family by his side.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support. We would particularly like to express our gratitude to the PE staff and leisure centre staff who came to Joe’s aid, we owe a huge amount of thanks to them.”

Staff at the recreation centre have described the moments leading up to, during and after the terrifying incident.

Stuart Arthur, 37, of Lawn, Jenny Hatter, 22, of Liden , Ben Clinch, 22, of Covingham , Steph Watts, 28, of West Swindon and Stephanie Woodman, 38, of Old Town , all work at the centre and were all involved in the battle to keep Joe alive.

Operations manager Stuart, who has been trained in first aid for the past 18 years, said: “I was stood in reception talking to my colleagues, overlooking the car park and I suddenly saw a huge white flash and a terrifically loud bang and that was when I knew instantly that something was wrong.

“I ran out and found a young lad face down, unconscious.”

Stuart was followed by Stephanie, who carried a medical bag with a defibrillator. Steph called 999, Ben helped with crowd control, and Jenny went back and forth with blankets and other items to help comfort those involved.

“I am so proud of the team and how they pulled together,” said Stuart. “The first thing I did was assess whether or not he was breathing – he wasn’t, so I turned him over and started CPR. As I was doing this, my colleagues started to carry out procedures to use the equipment as we were trained to.

“There wasn’t any immediate response but we weren’t expecting any straight away, that is quite normal. We were also fortunate that an off duty firefighter arrived and assisted us.

“It is emotional to know that despite what the family are going through, they have taken the time to thank us. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.”

Steph, a recreation assistant, said: “We do a lot of CPR training but I suddenly realised this wasn’t training.”

Jenny, a recreation assistant, said: “We are just trying to keep positive thoughts until we know how Joe is doing. We just hope he is OK.”