Springfield shows its worth in first aid challenge

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Like just about all good ideas, schoolboy Carl Hewitt’s invention is both simple and brilliant. So congratulations are in order for the 13-year-old whose problem-solving skills will undoubtedly save lives.

The Springfield School pupil’s prowess in beating four professional companies to come up with a winning design for a first aid sign is undoubted proof of the ingenuity of youth.

And it surely will enhance safety at companies like Southern Electric, whose Havant offices are home to more than 2,000 employees.

In any large organisation such as that, it is unlikely that everyone will immediately know who is the nearest qualified first aider and whether or not he or she happens to be in the office at the time of any emergency.

That fact understandably hit home at Southern Electric when a member of staff collapsed at a time when the closest two first aiders were both away from their desks. Like any responsible employer, the company set out to avoid a repeat in future of any confusion as to who was at hand.

It’s perhaps surprising that it failed to get what it wanted from the firms to which it set the challenge, with price and practicability both proving issues.

Hence the call to the Drayton school – and the chance for pupils there to show their prowess.

Young Carl might have taken the main plaudits – and a £50 voucher reward – for his idea of a desk aerial with first aid sign above, but the whole school can share in his success. The project set pupils there a real-life challenge and involved visits to the firm to ascertain what was needed and how it might be achieved.

The exercise has been a very worthwhile learning curve for students and the resultant £500 donation from a grateful company is a welcome boost to the school’s coffers.

It says much for Springfield’s reputation in the community that Southern Electric should approach it having not had the response it wanted from full-time professionals.

It says even more that it rose so well to the challenge.