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Tesco worker saves baby's life

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A Tesco security officer from Nuneaton has reached the final of a national competition – the second annual St John Ambulance First Aid Awards.

Graeme Beddows, 47, has been shortlisted in the Workplace Hero category for saving a baby’s life. The Workplace Hero award acknowledges an individual who has been the difference between life and death in their workplace.

The winner will be announced at a glittering event in London on Monday 19 November, hosted by survival expert Ray Mears, who has himself used first aid many times.

Life-saving first aid skills

Graeme works for Tesco as a security officer at Coventry’s Cross Point store. On 30 June he was patrolling at the front of the store when a man came running in from outside shouting for help. He had a baby in his arms that was choking and couldn’t breathe. Graeme immediately went to the man’s assistance. The man handed the baby to Graeme who took the baby to the changing room, away from any crowds gathering. After applying gentle back blows, Graeme checked to see if the airway was clear only to see the end of what appeared to be a string. Putting his left finger into the side of the baby’s mouth Graeme was able to hold onto the object and gently remove it, being careful not to push it any further down – it was a three-inch cheese string, which had caused the obstruction. Graeme handed the baby back to its relieved father.

The father thanked Graeme and alerted store manager Caroline Ward to ensure that Graeme got the recognition he deserved. Caroline has since nominated him for some internal awards within Tesco and has stated how proud she is of his quick thinking and calmness under pressure. Graeme has administered first aid on many occasions but usually just for minor abrasions and simple complaints, never before has he been confronted with a life saving decision.

Graeme said: ‘With my quick thinking and knowledge of first aid I helped save a young baby’s life. I feel very flattered and proud to have been shortlisted for the Workplace Hero award from St John Ambulance, for myself and for Tesco Cross Point.’

Awards at the celebratory black-tie awards dinner will be presented by celebrities including Dragons’ Den star and businessman Duncan Bannatyne, singer Michelle Heaton who needed first aid when she collapsed at a marathon and TV presenter Matthew Wright, whose life was saved when he choked.

Why the awards are needed

Richard Evens, Chair of Judges for the St John Ambulance First Aid Awards, said: ‘It is fantastic to see such amazing stories of individuals who have selflessly helped others. I’m pleased that our awards celebrate their achievements and hope that they inspire other people to be the difference.’

Full details on the awards can be found at www.sja.org.uk/firstaidawards