Galashiels student wins national first aid hero award

A Galashiels student has been named Scotland’s Young First Aid Hero of the Year.

Seventeen-year-old Abi Wardle scooped the accolade at the annual award ceremony of St Andrew’s First Aid, held in Glasgow’s City Hotel on Friday night.

The national charity, whose president is the Duke of Buccleuch, acknowledged the youngster’s “true act of heroism” in saving the lives of no fewer than three of her family.

In March this year, Abi became the inaugural winner of the Annie Dow Heroism Award for her quick thinking when her mum Lisa, 38, and brother Ben, 15 lapsed into unconsciousness at the family home in St Andrews Street, Galashiels.

They were both choking and were later diagnosed with cough apnoea – a rare condition in which patients can literally cough themselves unconsiousness.

Abi called an ambulance, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and put Lisa and Ben into the recovery position before the paramedics arrived.

Since receiving that award, Abi’s cool head and skills have also come to the rescue of her aunt who lives in Livingston.

“I was up visiting, when, as a result of taking too many tablets, she became unconscious and stopped breathing,” recalled Abi. “I ended up doing what I had done for mum and Ben. My aunt went on to make a full recovery.”

Last week’s award recognises Abi’s “extraordinary first aid achievement” during both incidents.

On Friday, Abi was accompanied at the glittering ceremony by her boyfriend Keiren Austin and proud mum Lisa.

“It was all a bit posh and scary, though obviously not as scary as performing first aid on members of your own family,” joked Abi.

Mum Lisa told the Southern: “Young people get such a bad rap nowadays, but there are many like Abi who are kind, thoughtful and really caring.

“It’s great when they are recognised in his way. We all all immensely proud of her.”

Abi was just 15 and juggling school life at Earlston High with caring for dad Peter, who was battling cancer, when, courtesy of the Scottish Borders Young Carers Service, she took a first aid course at the Borders General Hospital.

She has now taken a break from Borders College to look after her dad who suffers from lymphoma and is recovering from a recent stem cell transplant operation.

“I’ve not had much time to think about awards other than to hope other young people are inspired to learn first aid,” said Abi.