March 5 2015 Latest news:

Six community-spirited students from a Dereham school have been thanked for their instinctive act of kindness after they rushed to the aid of a pensioner who had fallen.

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Jacqui Horton, an 83-year-old former nurse, was walking up her driveway on Burgh Lane in Mattishall when she lost her balance and stumbled to the ground.

Just across the road, a group of friends were on their way home to the village after getting off the bus from Neatherd High School.

After seeing what had happened, the six youngsters were on the scene within seconds, offering comfort and first aid, as well as making sure medical assistance arrived quickly.

And in recognition of their efforts, the school has awarded Community Service certificates to Ethan and Imogen Bateman, aged 13 and 11, Cerys and Eliesha Allen, aged 13 and 15, Cameron Harris, 13, and Heidi Tinker, 14.

Mrs Horton, who was not injured and has fully recovered from the incident, said: “I am just so grateful to them. They are wonderful, delightful children and I don’t know what I would have done without them.

“They were so caring and were talking among themselves about what they could do for me. I was amazed. I hope other kids will see this and follow suit.

“People can be very critical of children, and sometimes they are not as good as they should be. But I was very relieved that these children were there for me. They were wonderful, and they just did what came naturally to them. It was lovely to see them again and to be able to say thank you.”

After they were called into action on December 13, Eliesha and Imogen ran to get Ethan and Imogen’s father Miles – a paramedic – while Ethan took off his school blazer to keep Mrs Horton warm until help arrived.

With Mr Bateman’s assistance, they were able to get their grateful casualty to her feet and into her house.

Cameron, who has had first aid training as a member of Dereham’s army cadets, said: “Me and Ethan stayed with her and made sure she was warm and kept her talking. I was worried in case she had any broken bones or internal injuries. There were not many people driving about so she might not have been noticed if we hadn’t seen her.”

After receiving her certificate, Cerys said: “It is nice for people to think we’re not all scallywags. We hope it will make other people realise that they should not all just think about themselves.”

Heidi added: “It is not something that happens every day, and we wouldn’t want it to happen every day. But it is nice to be recognised for doing something nice.”

Neatherd headteacher Peter Devonish wrote a letter to Mrs Horton thanking her for drawing the students’ kindness to his attention. It says: “They are great children, and their parents and my staff and I are very proud of them. What they did for you was exactly what we wish for in our young people.”

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