Dovercourt: School workers short-listed for award after saving the life of seven-year old Hollie

Clare Ruffell and Michelle Stacey have been nominated for an Everyday Heroes award for saving the life of seven-year-old Hollie Jarrett at Mayflower Primary School. Clare Ruffell and Michelle Stacey have been nominated for an Everyday Heroes award for saving the life of seven-year-old Hollie Jarrett at Mayflower Primary School.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
12:00 PM

Two school workers from north Essex have been short-listed for a national first aid award after saving the life of a seven-year old pupil.

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Michelle Stacey and Clare Ruffell, who work at Mayflower Primary School in Dovercourt, have been named as finalists in the ‘Top of the Class Award’ category for St John Ambulance’s Everyday Heroes awards. The category recognises a teacher or educational establishment that has an exemplary level of first aid knowledge and practice amongst staff and pupils.

The nomination came after administrative assistant Mrs Stacey, 45 and Ms Ruffell, 38, who’s a teaching assistant, came to the aid of pupil Hollie Jarrett in November 2012.

As she had been feeling unwell during the school day, Hollie’s dad Pete arranged to pick his daughter up from school to take her home.

But as they started to leave the school, Hollie, who had an undiagnosed tumour in her chest, went into cardiac arrest.

Hearing her father’s shouts, the two women, who are designated first aiders at the school, began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the young girl, whilst another member of staff called 999.

They continued their efforts for 40 minutes until the air ambulance crew arrived to take over. The two were praised for their efforts by Hollie’s mum, Michelle, who said: “It’s a miracle my daughter is alive today – they truly saved her.”

Hollie has since undergone treatment and has returned to school.

Ms Ruffell said: ‘Michelle and I are very honoured to have been nominated for this award. First aid in school is usually tummy aches and grazed knees. You never forget what you learn during a first aid course and just go into autopilot. At Mayflower Primary School all staff have now been trained in first aid.

She added: “You never expect this to ever happen in your workplace but with trained first aiders on scene it proves it really can save a life. Many people helped that day, it was a team effort.”

The two women have been invited to attend an awards ceremony in London in March to find out if they have won their category.

The Everyday Heroes awards programme was launched to celebrate the ordinary people who have used first aid to save a life, and the individuals and businesses that have championed the cause, helping to create more first aiders in our communities.

Chief executive of St John Ambulance, Sue Killen, added: ‘This year’s finalists have some truly remarkable stories to tell. It’s wonderful to be able to recognise the Everyday Heroes who are saving lives and encouraging others to do the same, and I hope they inspire others to learn first aid so they, too, can be the difference between life and death.”

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