A QUICK-THINKING off-duty police officer has been hailed a hero after racing to the rescue of a little girl who was choking on her tongue.
PC Scott Wolstenholme was in the car with his family when he spotted Gemma Lake desperately trying to revive her “blue and floppy” two-year-old niece at the side of the A49 in Newton-le-Willows.
The toddler, Emily Richardson, had suffered a febrile seizure and was choking on her tongue at the roadside.
Grateful Gemma, 26, who had been taking her niece to a play centre at the time, described PC Wolstenholme as “one of a kind”.
She said: “Scott jumped out of the car, grabbed her off me and starting tapping her on the back. But she was still blue so he started slapping her on the back and finally she gasped and could breathe again. We were so relieved when the colour came back into her face.
“He will always be seen as our hero. He is one of a kind and a real credit to the police force. We can’t thank him enough.”
Emily’s mum, Lois, 21, of Haydock, added: “Emily had suffered a viral infection a couple of days earlier and doctors think it may have led to the seizure.
“Gemma just looked in her rear view mirror and saw Emily foaming at the mouth. It must have been terrifying.
“We’re lucky the policeman was passing at the time. I dread to think what might have happened if he wasn’t. Words can’t express how grateful I am.
“He even visited her at the hospital to check up on her. Emily is absolutely fine now.”
Father-of-two PC Wolstenholme, 33, a roads policing officer from Ashton, not only used his first aid training to revive the youngster - he then kept hold of her until an ambulance arrived.
PC Wolstenholme said: “I must have gone into auto pilot - there was no time to stop and think. I just shouted at Gemma ‘give me the kid’, took Emily over to the pavement and started whacking her on the back.
“It didn’t work at first so I knew I had to hit her harder. All of a sudden, after another couple of whacks, all the life came back into her and she regained control of her limbs.
“It was only when I got back in the car that it all hit me and I had a bit of a wobble. I’m not a hero though, I was just in the right place at the right time and did the right thing.”
Chief Insp Mark Dexter was also full of praise following the February 23 incident.
He said: “We are immensely proud of Scott’s quick thinking and coolness in an incredibly stressful situation.
“This was undoubtedly terrifying for Gemma and Scott used all his skill and training to take control and administer vital first aid.
“He arguably saved this little girl’s life and is an absolute credit to the police and the Roads Policing Unit.”