Hampshire headteacher nominated for award after saving life of girl, 4

Teaching staff from St Joseph's Primary. From left, Lorraine Williams, Debbie Flynn, Bill James, Kelly Ralls and Bryony Lawrence, and St John Ambulance first aid trainer, Jo Michaelides, with five-year-old Adela Zastreskova. Picture: St John's Ambulance
Teaching staff from St Joseph's Primary. From left, Lorraine Williams, Debbie Flynn, Bill James, Kelly Ralls and Bryony Lawrence, and St John Ambulance first aid trainer, Jo Michaelides, with five-year-old Adela Zastreskova. Picture: St John's Ambulance
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A HEADTEACHER has been nominated for a first aider award after he helped save the life of a four-year-old girl who stopped breathing for more than two minutes in class.

Bill James performed CPR on pupil Adela Zastreskova after she collapsed at a school in Hampshire.

The youngster had suffered a febrile convulsion which is a fit caused by a sudden change in body temperature.

Mr James said he had been working in his office when he heard a commotion and saw Adela had collapsed at St Joseph’s Primary School in Aldershot.

The 52-year-old realised Adela’s heart had stopped and, supported by his staff Lorraine Williams and Debbie Flynn, began to give her chest compressions and rescue breaths for two minutes before she started to breathe for herself.

Mr James said: ‘Adela was being carried into the reception area by Mrs Lawrence and Mrs Williams who called for help.

‘She had gone limp and wasn’t breathing.

‘I started giving Adela CPR, just as I’d been shown at our St John Ambulance training.

‘Kelly Ralls, our designated first aid lead, helped me by counting chest compressions, while Mrs Flynn called an ambulance.

‘It was a team effort and surprisingly we all stayed calm.

‘It was more than two minutes before Adela took a breath.

As well as being extremely relieved, we were glad that our training had equipped us to deal with this very critical situation.’

Mr James and his team have been nominated for an Everyday Heroes 2018 award hosted by first aid charity St John Ambulance.

Adela was taken to hospital where she was given antibiotics and discharged a few hours later after the incident in April last year.

Her mother, Petra Simunicova, said: ‘The seriousness of the situation didn’t sink in at first because when I arrived Adela was breathing again.

‘She’d actually had a febrile convulsion the year before but hadn’t stopped breathing.

‘It was such a terrible situation, not only for Adela but for the teachers and everyone involved, I’m just very happy and thankful they knew what to do.’

St John Ambulance trainer Jo Michaelides said about five in 100 children have a febrile convulsion some time before their sixth birthday, though they most commonly occur between the ages of 18 months and three years and it is very infrequent for them to stop breathing.

Jo added: ‘If they do stop breathing, you must move quickly into resuscitation, which is exactly what the school staff did.

‘I am so pleased with them, they were amazing.’

The winners of the Everyday Heroes 2018 awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 24.

The charity’s chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown, said: ‘Every day, St John Ambulance is saving lives and supporting communities.

‘We want to celebrate the brave actions and skill of people like Bill James and his staff, who stepped in without hesitation to make a real difference.’

For details of the awards and how to nominate people visit sja.org.uk/everydayheroes.