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Anne-Marie: I was eating a sort of broth, then something got stuck, a lump of veg or bread. My eldest son, then 11, started whacking me on the back, but it was more on the shoulders and wasn’t working.

My eyes were watering and I was getting more and more stressed. I was thinking ‘what am I going to do here? How am I going to get this cleared?’ It was frightening and I was in a panic.

George: My brothers were frantically smacking her on the back. I had been at Badgers only a few weeks and we’d just covered Choking Charlie. 

I felt pretty scared because my Mum was choking.

They taught us panicking doesn’t help, if anything, it makes it worse, so I kept that in my head and stayed calm.

I said, ‘You don’t do it like that, let me have a go’. I gave her one back slap and a piece of broccoli or something flew out. 

Anne-Marie: The sheer relief when it cleared, I could have burst into tears. It was like I didn’t know where it was going next – I couldn’t draw a breath.

Everybody just sat there with their mouths open, thinking ‘where did he learn that?’ He had only been in St John’s for six weeks.

He then showed us what he would have had to do if the back slaps hadn’t worked – the abdominal thrust! For an eight-year-old to be able to do that is amazing.

St John has switched a light on

Anne-Marie: Now George is doing really well as a Cadet. For him, St John has switched a light on. And his younger sister Mary couldn’t wait to become a Badger and is absolutely loving it. For us as parents, it’s fantastic.

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Stories from our amazing St John people, showing how community first aid saves lives.