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Vice Principal judges national St John Ambulance’s Awards

Vice Principal judges national St John Ambulance’s Awards
Tuesday 5th May 2015 by C. Freeman

Brooke Weston’s Vice Principal Simon Underwood, who was awarded the accolade of Everyday Hero 2014 after saving the life of a toddler, is part of the judging panel for this year’s national St John Ambulance’s awards.

There are eight categories in the Everyday Hero Awards that raise awareness of the importance of first aid and recognise the achievements of the general public, teachers and organisations. There are up to six shortlisted nominees in each category and winners are announced at an annual star-studded awards ceremony in July.

Last year Mr Underwood was nominated for his prompt action in performing CPR on a toddler who was found unresponsive in a stream at Billing Aquadrome. His first aid knowledge and quick thinking meant that the 15-month-old was revived and went on to make a full recovery. Mr Underwood received local and national news coverage and was nominated for the award.

He received the title Everyday Hero from Tess Daly in the awards ceremony last year, which was also attended by the Countess of Wessex. His story is one of those featured on the St John Ambulance website and it highlights the importance of knowing first aid as, although there were many bystanders at the scene when the boy was discovered, Mr Underwood stepped up to offer assistance.

He said: ‘At my previous school the Year 10 students were taught levels 1 and 2 of basic first aid. I oversaw the sessions and that is how I picked up some skills in CPR. The toddler had gone missing and his family were looking for him. We checked the stream nearby and he was pulled out of it and wasn’t breathing. No-one knows how long he was in there, but it was probably around five or six minutes as he had a purple tone to his skin and was unresponsive.

‘When you’re not a trained medic, doing first aid is instinctive, you don’t have any time to think about it, you try everything. I tipped him up slightly because he was quite small, which released some of the water from his airways. The CPR eventually worked when he started to gurgle and vomited. The resuscitation lasted for about six minutes before the ambulance arrived. The worst part was that there were so many extended family around and they were panicking. The boy spent about a week in intensive care but luckily went on to make a full recovery.’

‘As the winner last year I was invited to be on this year’s panel. The award ceremony is in July and it will be hosted by Kirsty Gallacher. I think first aid training should be statutory in every school because you never know when or where you will have to use it and those few minutes of action could make a massive difference to the outcome.’

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