Innerleithen toddler saves mum’s life

Proud mum and dad Francesca and Robert Rychel after their two year old daughter Rowan's 999 call after Francesca collapsed.
Proud mum and dad Francesca and Robert Rychel after their two year old daughter Rowan's 999 call after Francesca collapsed.

A TALKATIVE Innerleithen toddler is in line for a police award after phoning the emergency services to rescue her unconscious mother.

Rowan Rychel dialled 999 after her mum Francesca was knocked out after fainting at their Ballantyne Street home.

She raised the alarm by telling an operator that ‘Mummy won’t wake up’, resulting in a police officer attending the house and calling for an ambulance.

Rowan, who was two today (Thursday), was in the living room with Mrs Rychel, a student nurse at Napier University, when her mum fainted earlier this month.

Mrs Rychel said: “The last I remembered was about 2pm and then I was woken up by a policeman. I don’t remember anything in between.

“The police officer told me that Rowan had phoned 999 and told the operator ‘Mummy won’t wake up’ and had then hung up.

“The operator phoned back and asked if they would speak to mummy and Rowan said ‘No’.

“They sent a policeman round who tried the door but apparently couldn’t get any answer.

“He saw Rowan running around in only her nappy and managed to get in and found me on the floor, with Rowan sitting on my chest.”

Mrs Rychel had fallen, hitting her head against a wooden cabinet on the way down and twisting her leg.

But after a few hours in hospital she was released, although has a crutch for her dislocated knee since the accident.

But the 26-year-old fears what could have happened if Rowan had not made the phonecall.

Mrs Rychel added: “I am very proud of her. I am glad it was not anything more serious.

“If it had been more serious I would have had to have taken a year out of my course.

“She has phoned 999 a few times - probably because it is the easiest number to reach for her.

“I have told her to only press 999 in an emergency so whether she remembered that or just thought she would get a response, I don’t know.”

Husband Robert, 35, was not due back from his work at Standard Life in Edinburgh until 7pm.

He told us: “Francesca could have been lying there until then if Rowan had not made the phonecall.

“She picks things up really quickly. She is at the age where she is a wee parrot and repeats things back to you the first time you say anything to her.

“I have caught her on the phone a few times and she quite happily picks up her mum’s mobile phone and presses the buttons on that as well.

“I would like to say she has got her quick thinking from me, but I am not sure.”

Lothian and Borders Police Inspector Mike Wynne described quick thinking Rowan’s actions as “remarkable”.

He said: “The actions of this young girl are to be commended.

“For a two-year-old child to remain calm and have the knowledge and ability to dial 999 is remarkable.

“If it were not for Rowan’s actions her mother may have lay unconscious for a lengthy period of time with possibly serious consequences.

“Even on arrival of the emergency services Rowan was unfazed and showed exceptional calmness.

“A wonderfully bright toddler, who it will be a pleasure to nominate for some award recognition.”