ENGLAND football legend Sir Geoff Hurst has told how a heart scare during a stroll in the park led to him being fitted with a pacemaker.
Hurst, 79, turned to doctors after his pulse rocketed to 200 beats per minute.
After being assessed by specialists he was given emergency surgery to have the pacemaker fitted two weeks ago.
Last night Sir Geoff — who scored a hat-trick in England’s 4-2 1966 World Cup Final victory over West Germany at Wembley — said: “Life is a lottery.
“Look at my colleagues from the World Cup team. Sadly, some of them have had one issue or another and have passed away during this awful time.
“I have just had a pacemaker fitted. I had a mild stroke a couple of years ago and had tests after that. I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, which is not life threatening.
“When you tell people you have a pacemaker they think ‘oh Christ’, but for me it is not quite like that.
“I wasn’t feeling bad beforehand but it prevents the irregularities and possibly falling over and damaging myself or driving a car and running somebody over.
“I have got to see a specialist in four to six weeks just to recap.
“But I’m doing OK with it.”
Sir Geoff is now one of only three of the original World Cup squad still alive.
The recent deaths of 1966 team-mates Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt have made the former West Ham striker take stock of life.
And since having the pacemaker fitted he has been focussed on getting back to full fitness.
He said: “I did exercise every day — walking and twenty minutes of Joe Wicks. And I have stuck with that routine.
“It was enough and kept my weight slightly lower than it was beforehand.
“I have a watch and a chest strap which monitors your heart rate.
“Walking up a normal slope in the park it is between 90 and 95. But my watch occasionally showed 200. I had to stop going to the gym because of Covid.
“When they re-opened, you got all the stories about having to wipe down equipment after use and I thought ‘I am not doing that’.
“I quite enjoy the different Joe Wicks programmes. I have stopped doing it while I am bedding the pacemaker in.
“I can then decide with the specialist if I can go back to normal. I’ve spoken to people who’ve had them. They say their lives went back to normal, although my life wasn’t anywhere near abnormal.
“But the biggest issue is the driving. If you have a blackout when you are driving that can be very serious.
“That in itself persuaded me, without really feeling bad at all apart from the watch issue, to decide to have one fitted, and I did a couple of weeks ago.”
Hurst has written a book called Eighty At Eighty in which he names his top 80 inspirational sports stars to mark his landmark birthday on December 8.
Apart from Sir Geoff, the only other members of the 1966 World Cup squad still alive are Sir Bobby Charlton, 84, and George Cohen, 82.
Midfielder Nobby Stiles, 78, and defender Jack Charlton 85, both died last year after long battles with dementia.
Goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who was 81, died in 2019 — as did England’s other World Cup Final goalscorer Martin Peters, who was 76.