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Nine-year-old Highgate St John Ambulance volunteer wins first-aid award

07:00 10 December 2012

Codie Castle 8 years who has  just won a first aid award for helping her grandfather Fred Smyth

Codie Castle 8 years who has just won a first aid award for helping her grandfather Fred Smyth

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A nine-year-old volunteer for St John Ambulance has won a first-aid award for looking after her grandfather who is seriously ill, and always checking if her mother, who is a full-time carer, needs a hug.

Codie Castle was the youngest person to win the award at a ceremony last week which honoured exceptional volunteers in the Highgate and Highbury division of the charity.

She is a member of the Highgate Badgers, which teaches the youngest volunteers of St John Ambulance basic first-aid skills.

Codie’s mother Deborah Castle, 38, said: “Her grandfather is seriously ill with oesophageal cancer and we’ve been through a very difficult time as we live with him.

“But Codie always does her best to help both him and me however she can.”

She added: “She sits with him and holds his hand when he has his jabs and helps me out with household tasks.”

Codie, who has asthma, also gets the flu jab, and she and her grandfather have made a tradition of going to the doctor together.

Codie, who attends St John’s Upper Holloway Primary School in Islington, said: “I take his stuff up to his room and I help him with his tubes. When he has to take some nasty medicine and he says ‘I don’t want to take it,’ I make sure he does!”

Codie said she was very surprised to get the award. “I was like, ‘woweee!’,” she said. “I thought, ‘why am I getting this award?’”

Her mother added: “The six-week school holiday was a very hard time because we couldn’t really leave the house. But Codie was always saying, ‘Mummy, are you OK?’ or ‘Mummy, do you need a hug?’”

Codie’s six-year-old sister Katie was presented with the Badger Of The Year award for being a dedicated and hard-working helper.

Network rail worker and Highgate volunteer Lesley Atkins was also honoured for saving the life of a man who collapsed at King’s Cross Station last month.

Celia Tripp, youth leader at Highgate St John Ambulance division, said the volunteers were “a truly remarkable group of people who give up so much of their own time to serving others.

“In many cases the service they provide is quite literally the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

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