Young girl awarded public commendation for ‘exceptional’ bravery after her dad collapsed

Poppy Parkinson receives her public commendation alongside her mother Ruth Botley
Poppy Parkinson receives her public commendation alongside her mother Ruth Botley

A ‘quick-thinking’ young girl from Hastings has received a public commendation from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) for her bravery in calling 999 after her dad collapsed.

Seven-year-old Poppy Parkinson had been spending the day alone with her dad James Parkinson, in July 2017, when he suddenly collapsed as a result of a brain aneurysm at his home in Harold Road, Hastings.

After finding him unconscious, Poppy stayed calm while using her dad’s mobile to call for help and direct the emergency services to her dad’s address.

While, unfortunately, Popppy’s dad’s life could not be saved, ambulance crews praised her quick-thinking actions which meant he was given expert treatment and her family was able to see him before he died the following day in hospital.

At a SECAmb awards ceremony, in Maidstone, Kent, last Thursday, Poppy was awarded a public commendation.

Following the incident, Poppy’s mother Ruth Botley said: “I want her to understand, perhaps when she’s a bit older, that she saved him.

“By making sure the ambulance was there so quickly, it meant that everybody had the opportunity to say goodbye.”

Poppy, who began studying at All Saints Primary School in September, has also been praised for helping four other people who have benefitted from her father’s donated organs since his death.

Andy Bishop, professional standards manager at SECAmb, added: “Poppy’s actions allowed (her father) to be able to fulfill his wish which was to donate to other people and we are aware of four other people who have been supported by his organs or even has potentially saved their life because of his organs.

“What was exceptional about Poppy was the way she was able to stay calm. To be able to remain calm when it’s your own father, or any member of your family, I think is one of the hardest things to do. I think, even as a professional, if I attended my own family I don’t know how I would be and to realise a seven year old is able to achieve that is something quite exceptional and it’s something that certainly moved me when I heard the story.

“She deserves the highest praise for what she achieved that day.”

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