Maureen Beddow, of Horsforth, recalls when her husband put his St John Ambulance training into practice and saved a boy’s life
Back in 1946, when my husband Sam was eleven years old, he joined the St John Ambulance Brigade.
Like many young lads, he admired the men in uniform who fought and won the Second World War. Not able to be a soldier, he joined St John to help others. And he got his opportunity when, after only five or six lessons, he saved a boy’s life.
Sam and his mates all had old Army bikes, passed on to them by people no longer needing them. Some had large blocks of wood on the pedals as they were too big for the lads.
One day, the gang was riding round the estate when it heard calls of dis-tress. A group of much younger lads came into view and one was really screaming and his arm and clothing were bloody.
Eyeing the situation, Sam saw a large piece of glass embedded in the boy’s wrist and someone trying to remove it. Sam took the boy to one side and tried to calm him down, saying: “The glass must not be removed”, as it was stemming the flow of blood.
Reaching in his saddle bag, Sam pulled out bandages and made a ring bandage from one of them. He then bound the wrist and covered the ring dressing. He had also sent a lad to ring 999 from a call box.
Very shortly, a police car arrived to sort out the problem. Asking Sam what action he had taken, the officer was amazed he had known what to do and said Sam had done a very good deed.
The boy was put in the police car and the officers took him to his home and then delivered him and his mum to A&E. The lads went home and thought no more about it. Early next day, the police came back with the boy’s mum.
The hospital had praised Sam on his quick action and his knowledge of what to do. It said he had saved the boy’s life – if the glass had been taken out he could have bled to death. The boy’s mum couldn’t thank Sam enough.
Of course, nosy neighbours said: “What’s your Sammy done wrong?” Sam’s mum responded, saying: “Oh, he just saved a boy’s life. That’s all.”
Pictures courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John, London