Schoolboy saves mum's life
A cool-headed schoolboy from the North
East has been hailed a hero after his calm and
precise use of first aid saved his mother’s
Brandon Flanighan, 12, studied first aid with his
friends at Morpeth Newminster Middle School as part of the
St John Ambulance Northumbria Young first aider course.
When mum Jacqueline collapsed at home, suffering concussion and
a gash to the head, he knew exactly what to do.
Jacqueline said: 'My head was bleeding profusely and I was
drifting in and out of responsiveness. If Brandon hadn’t been there
having done the St John Ambulance course and knowing exactly what
to do I could have died. I am so proud of him – I can’t speak about
it without crying!'
Now Brandon has been nominated for a national
award, the St John Ambulance Young
first aider of the year, which rewards young people who have
used first aid skills to save a life or help an injured person in a
real emergency. For Jacqueline there could be no greater honour for
'I would love him to get recognition for what he has done, and I
would urge any parent whose child is given the chance to take part
in this wonderful course to seize the opportunity with both hands.
These are skills which really can save a life, and which everyone
The drama unfolded at the family home in Pegswood in the early
hours of the morning. Brandon’s father James had left early for
work at 5am and Jacqueline was sleeping downstairs as she recovered
from a painful operation on her foot. She awoke at 6am and was
walking into the kitchen when she passed out and fell to the floor,
hitting her head. When her daughter, Lara, 13, found her some 40
minutes later she was lying in a pool of blood.
Jacqueline said: 'I was aware of Lara’s voice and I felt the
coldness of the floor. In my head I assumed I was dead and in a
morgue! I was in pain and was sure I must have died. Lara called
Brandon and pulled me into the sofa. He came into the room and was
so calm, and immediately started talking to me, telling me what had
happened and what he was about to do. I just wanted to go to sleep
but obviously his training had taught him that because of my head
injury that would be really dangerous, and to keep me awake.
'He put me into the recovery position and raised my legs,
talking to me and reassuring me as I drifted in and out of
responsiveness. He also applied pressure to my head wound with a
clean tea towel and told his sister to summon help, then he kept
checking the wound and talking to me until his Dad and the
ambulance crew arrived, and gave a detailed handover to them about
what had happened and what he had done.'
Jacqueline went on: 'I didn’t realise at the time how brilliant
my children were, but looking back they were amazing. There was a
lot of blood and it was a very scary situation, and yet my son
transformed into this calm young man talking to me and acting as if
he were a trained doctor. All I wanted to do was sleep but he kept
asking me dates from history and kept me responsive. He was proud
of doing the St John Ambulance course before Christmas and found it
so interesting but I never dreamed he would have to use it –
especially not on me and so soon.
'He is a very kind and thoughtful boy but he was amazing in this
situation and I am so proud of him. All I have is a bump on my head
and a scar. Without Brandon who knows if I would even be here. What
if I had been at home on my own? I would advise any parent whose
child has the chance to do this course to jump at it. It is so
worthwhile. Imagine how powerless my children would have felt if he
had not known exactly what to do.'
Peter Lane is the schools’ liaison officer for St John Ambulance
Northumbria. He assessed Brandon after his Young First Aider course
and nominated him for the Young First Aider of the Year Award. He
said: 'Brandon behaved brilliantly and did exactly what he was
trained to do. Because he had learned the skills he needed, he
remained calm and confident and didn’t panic. His story is a real
indication of why first aid is so important and how it can
potentially be the difference between life and death.'
The deputy head teacher at Brandon’s school, Steven Johnson,
said staff were reduced to tears when they heard the moving story
of the quiet, thoughtful boy-turned-hero: 'Brandon is a thinker who
always considers the needs and feelings of others. He used these
calm and collected traits together with his newly-acquired
important life skills, and this moving and heroic story is the
'This reaffirms to all of us at Newminster Middle School the
importance of working with St John Ambulance Northumbria to offer
the children these important lessons for life within school.'
The Young first aider of the year
award is designed to show you are never too young to learn
first aid and is open to everyone under the age of 18. Winners will
be invited to a special ceremony at the historic headquarters of St
John Ambulance in Clerkenwell, London, on May 30. The closing date
for nominations is February 20.