Norwich teenager saves car crash victim

A teenage St John Ambulance volunteer was today praised after she put her first aid skills into practice when a woman was seriously injured following a crash near her Norwich home.

Jackie Heywood, a member of the Sprowston Cadet Unit of St John Ambulance, was actually about to leave her house in Woodcock Road, off Aylsham Road, Norwich, for her weekly first aid class when she heard a loud crash.

The Thorpe St Andrew High School pupil ran outside, dressed in her uniform, to discover a woman, bloodied and injured, in the middle of the road after being hit by a car.

She was then called upon to calmly administer some of the skills she had learned as a volunteer.

The 15-year-old said: 'Just as I was leaving the house I heard a boom noise which sounded like a car crashing with something, and when I looked into the street there was a lady sitting up in the road with blood pouring from her nose, head and ears.

'I was going to put a dressing on because she had a cut on the back of her head. She started touching her collar bone and seemed as if she had hurt her neck so I held it and supported it.

'She was very confused and kept clinging to me and was clearly in pain so I did everything I'd been taught to try to keep her calm and to prevent her causing any further injury to herself.'

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Another person at the scene called an ambulance and when paramedics arrived, shortly after 6.30pm on Tuesday, October 19, they told Jackie to carry on helping as they gave her medication and got her onto a spinal board.

The woman was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with what an ambulance spokesman described as serious head injuries, and the trauma team was alerted.

The woman, who has not been named, is believed to have suffered a brain bleed and broken neck but is now recovering.

Jackie has since been told that but for her swift actions in tending to the woman so carefully in the moments after the crash it could have been a very different story.

She said: 'I received an email saying that if I hadn't held her neck she could have been left paralysed or worse. It made me feel good that my training helped.'

Jackie, who has attended the Royal Norfolk Show as a volunteer for the first aid charity, said she was pleased to be in the right place at the right time.

She said: 'It was a strange experience but I'm really proud of how quickly all my first aid skills kicked in and how easily I was able to manage the situation.

'I think it really proves how important it is to have first aid knowledge because you really can make the difference to someone's life in a situation like that on your own doorstep.

'I know a lot of people my age would be nervous about helping in that kind of situation because they haven't had training, so that's why my time with St John Ambulance has been so good. It makes you far more confident about what to do in an emergency situation – because you never know when something might happen.'

Jackie, who still managed to make it to her first aid meeting despite helping out at the crash, has been hailed a hero by her proud parents Julie Heywood, 39, father Gary Hollings, 42, and seven-year-old sister Gemma.

Mrs Heywood, said: 'I'm amazed at what Jackie achieved that night. Words cannot explain how proud I am of Jackie, and it's great news that the lady is getting better.'

Graham Thomson, commissioner for youth, for St John Ambulance Norfolk said: 'Jackie handled the situation exceptionally well and we are enormously proud of her.

'We know that up to 150,000 people die each year in situations where first aid may have made the difference. We want to encourage everybody– young and old – to learn first aid skills so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved, so we would urge more young people like Jackie to get involved in our cadet units or find out about training courses.'

<t> For information about St John Ambulance please call 08700 10 49 50 or visit

<t> Are you the woman who Jackie helped or do you owe your life to a first aider? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email