An eagle-eyed schoolgirl saved the life of her seriously-ill elderly neighbour after spotting that her lights had been left on.

Amelia Ling, 11, had struck up a friendship with Maureen Jacklin, 74, and would often visit her flat on Charles Square, near Dereham Road, and waved to her each day as she went to and from school.

So she became concerned one day when she noticed something out of the ordinary: Mrs Jacklin's lights had been left on during the day and night, with the curtains closed, and she had not been out and about, as she often was.

So Amelia peered into the property and saw Mrs Jacklin's feet in her slippers. Because the curtains were closed she could see no more.

The Avenue Junior School pupil immediately raised the alarm by going home and telling her father, Craig, as he was cooking tea, and making him go with her to investigate. 

They knocked on the door and when they heard Mrs Jacklin shout for help Mr Ling barged his way in. The pair found her on the floor and called an ambulance.

They discovered she had been lying there for three days, unable to get help. 

Doctors told Mrs Jacklin after she recovered that she would have died within a day if her young friend had not found her when she did.

The pair became close last summer after they had spoken in passing near their homes.

Norwich Evening News: Maureen Franklin (left) and Amelia Ling (right) became close last summerMaureen Franklin (left) and Amelia Ling (right) became close last summer (Image: Denise Bradley)

Amelia began visiting Maureen a few times a week for a chat and would greet her every morning and evening.

"I'm not sure if she comes for me or the chocolate but I really enjoy her company," said Mrs Jacklin.

It was on Christmas Eve that Amelia noticed something was wrong.

"Her instincts told her something was wrong. It's unbelievable. But she's a bright girl and she sees things differently. I probably wouldn't have noticed," said Mr Ling, a self-employed gardener.

Amelia said: "Maureen goes out a lot, but I hadn't seen her.

"And the curtains had been shut and her lights were left on, which was weird. I could just see in and only saw her slippers on her feet."

Mrs Jacklin cannot remember much of the incident. She was in and out of consciousness due to having not eaten or drunk anything in days.

She said: "I wasn't even aware I was laying on the floor. I didn't know how to get up or how long it had been.

"But thank God Amelia noticed something was wrong. Nobody else would have. My husband has passed. I don't have any family and my neighbours were all away for Christmas.

Norwich Evening News: Amelia noticed something was wrong when Maureen's lights had been left onAmelia noticed something was wrong when Maureen's lights had been left on (Image: Denise Bradley)

"My doctor said if I'd been there another day I would be six feet under. I was very ill. They said I had the flu which became pneumonia.

"I was even having hallucinations which were really quite scary.

"I was sure I could see my telly on through the back of the sofa and I was certain the ambulance was being driven by Hugh Grant. 

"It was such a frightening experience but Amelia really saved me.

"She's only 11 but there's no doubt about it, I owe her my life.

"I just feel so lucky and blessed. I have no family so to know people care about you is wonderful. She's a lovely, clever girl.

"It was a marvellous thing she did. I can't be grateful enough."

Maureen is home and slowly recovering after spending a few weeks in hospital. She is building her strength by walking up and down the three flights of stairs to her flat twice a day.

Amelia is visiting her regularly.