Josh uses first aid skills and remains calm while saving mum's life

 Josh Pilling
An eight-and-a-half year-old Norfolk boy has used first aid skills he learnt from St John Ambulance to save his mum's life.

Josh Pilling was asleep at his home in Bowthorpe one evening at the end of June this year when he was woken by frantic banging on a wall. His mum, Helen, had not been feeling well so had gone to bed early and taken some tablets. The tablets and juice went down the wrong way and caused Helen to choke.

Helen, who is a St John Ambulance member and Sergeant in the Hellesdon Unit, said, 'I realised I was in difficulty as soon as I had taken the tablets. Luckily I was able to bang on the wall and wake Josh, who came to my assistance.'

First aid training proves decisive

Using the correct procedure, Josh administered three back slaps to Helen and was able to dislodge the tablets.

Josh has been a St John Ambulance Badger for three years and had moved to the Sprowston and Old Catton Division a short time before the incident. Badgers learn first aid techniques from the age of five. His application of first aid training to help his mum resulted in him receiving a divisional 'well done' certificate, which is proudly displayed on the mantelpiece at home, as well as winning a commendation at the county-wide awards ceremony held on 16 September.

Helen's husband, Richard, continued: 'We are immensely proud of Josh as he realised that this was a real emergency and his training just kicked in without a second thought. The fact that he was helping his mum and remained so calm is a credit to his abilities. His experience has helped him settle in at his new division and he will soon be off to Badger camp with his new friends.'

Josh said: 'I was really pleased that I could help my mum using the skills I learnt at Badgers.'

John Starling, Sprowston and Old Catton Divisional Superintendent for St John Ambulance, said: ‘Josh is a quiet young man and clearly this paid off as he was incredibly calm and capable in what could have been a highly traumatic situation. His impressive actions make him amongst only one in three people who would know what to do in a similar situation. Josh was the difference between a life lost and a life saved, and we are all very proud of him.’