Young Norwich boy wins award for saving his mum from choking

A young Norwich boy has been commended by St John Ambulance for following the correct procedures when his mum was choking.

Eight-year-old Josh Pilling, of Caddaw Road, Bowthorpe, was asleep one evening at the end of June this year when he was woken by frantic banging on a wall.

His mum, Helen, had not been feeling well so had gone to bed early and taken some tablets, which went down the wrong way and caused her to choke.

Using the correct procedure he had learned as a St John Ambulance Badger in the last three years, Josh administered three blows to his mum's back and was able to dislodge the tablets.

Helen, who is a St John Ambulance member and sergeant in the Hellesdon unit, said: 'I realised I was in difficulty as soon as I had taken the tablets. Luckily I was able to bang on the wall and wake Josh, who came to my assistance.'

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Josh had moved to the St John Sprowston and Old Catton Badger division a short time before the incident, whose divisional superintendent, John Starling, said: 'Josh is a quiet young man and clearly this paid off as he was incredibly calm and capable in what could have been a highly traumatic situation.

'Josh was the difference between a life lost and a life saved, and we are all very proud of him.'

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The youngster was given a commendation at the annual awards ceremony of the Norfolk St John Ambulance branch recently, along with 35 other members.

The event was hosted at the Hewett School in Norwich, with the awards presented by Lord Mayor of Norwich Jenny Lay.

The awards included a Laurel Leaf for 52 years of service awarded to George Leslie from the

Dereham division, as well as service medals and service medal bars to 23 other members and 10 certificates to those who have given over 1,000 hours in service this year.

The final presentations were of three special awards, including the Commissioner's Cup, which was awarded to Harold Underwood from the Hellesdon division for dedication to his unit as superintendent.

The Commander's Knight Salver was awarded to county staff officer, first aid instructor and qualified nurse Roly Uppiah for his diverse skills and continued commitment to St John Ambulance and the wider community through his work on Norwich's SOS Bus.

The Chairman's Cup was also presented, to Pat and Richard Grout for providing 24-hour first aid service during the week of the Royal Norfolk Show.

Do you know someone who has committed an act of bravery? Call reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email

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