Life-saver Abi rewarded with heroism honour

L-r, Lisa, Abi and Ben Wardle at home in Galashiels. Abi is to receive the Annie Dow Heroism Award for saving her mum and brother's life on two separate incidents.

L-r, Lisa, Abi and Ben Wardle at home in Galashiels. Abi is to receive the Annie Dow Heroism Award for saving her mum and brother's life on two separate incidents.

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Back in October 2013, young Abi Wardle from Galashiels thought it would be a good idea to learn first aid.

Thanks to the Scottish Borders Young Carers Service (SBYCS), the 15-year-old Earlston High pupil attended a basic course at Borders General Hospital.

She believed the training could come in handy as she juggled school life with caring for her dad Peter who is battling cancer.

But two months later it was mum Lisa, 37, and younger brother Ben, 13, who were to reap the benefit of Abi’s newly-acquired skills.

For, in two dramatic incidents at the family home, Abi saved both their lives.

And next month she will be the first recipient of a national heroism award, along with a prize of £2,500, at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

Abi was called into action when Lisa, a full-time council carer, collapsed choking with a coughing fit and lost consciousness.

“Mum’s face lost all colour and her lips turned blue, so I knew it was serious,” recalled Abi this week. “I called an ambulance, placed her in the recovery position and started performing CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation].”

Abi comforted her mum until paramedics arrived and conveyed her to the BGH where she was diagnosed with and treated for whooping cough.

Three days later with her mum back home and recovering, Ben began displaying almost identical symptoms.

“He crawled out of his bedroom early in the morning and he was choking on his tongue,” said Abi, adding: “It was really scary so I performed my version of the Heimlich manoeuvre to clear his airways, got him into the recovery position and, again, waited for the ambulance. I’m just glad I knew what to do.”

Lisa told The Southern: “Ben and I have limited memory of what happened because we lost consciousness, but we are both so grateful to Abi for keeping a cool head, putting her training to good use and saving our lives. We are all so proud of her.”

Abi, now 16 and a hairdressing student at Borders College, was nominated for the inaugural Annie Dow Heroism Award by SBYCS co-ordinator Jo Glover who described her as “truly remarkable”.

And Jo revealed that, as a result of Abi’s heroism, funding had been secured through NHS Borders for two annual first aid training courses for young carers in the region.

“It’s really good to know others will have the chance to learn the skills which helped my mum and brother,” said Abi.

The award, which will be presented on March 19, has been established to “recognise and celebrate true acts of heroism among young people, up to the age of 30, with additional support living needs in Scotland”.