A young boy has thanked a charity after the skills he learned helped him save his mum’s life when he was aged just eight.

George Parkinson, from Astley Bridge and who is now aged 12, had been going to classes as a badger at St John Ambulance for around six weeks when he was able to learn what to do if someone was choking.

And this became useful when his mum Anne-Marie started choking on a vegetable after eating some broth on a holiday in Scotland.

His older brothers started patting her on the back as hard as they could, but this was not working.

It was thanks to George’s quick-thinking actions that he was able to stop his mum Anne-Marie from choking, after putting one hand on his mum’s back and slapping it, and the food came out.

The Bolton News:

George said: “We were on holiday in Scotland, and my mum was eating a Scottish broth, and we were on a coffee table.

“And she bent down and when she got back up, she started choking, and everyone thought she could cough it out, and everyone started to go into panic because it wasn’t going.

“I put my hand in position and on the first blow it came out.”

George said he feels lucky that he was able to get the training he got from St John’s because he cannot imagine what would have happened if he had not.

He added: “I was honestly just focused on helping her.

“No sort of emotion came past me to be honest with you; I just got up and did it.”

The Bolton News: Anne-Marie said: “You suddenly realise how much your children are taking in.

“It was just amazing to see him standing there and do it and be cool as a cucumber.

“It didn’t faze him.

“But once everything had calmed down and he’d managed to clear it, he then started to say now if that hadn’t of worked what I would have done next is and went through the whole scenario of the abdominal thrusts.

“It just taught me something about George that I didn’t know.

“I was really amazed at how much he’d taken in, and how much he’d learned and never really shared it.

“It all happened so quickly to be honest, and I think I was just getting frustrated because my two older sons were trying, and it normally works. So the minute it didn’t work, there was that kind of what happens next, and by that time George had jumped up, run round the table, and was already behind me.

“We have a bit of a joke now. Because if he wants to get something out of me he’ll say ‘remember I saved your life’.

“I really appreciate the fact he stepped in when he needed to, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for that.”

The Bolton News: George with his sister MaryGeorge with his sister Mary (Image: Dave Thomspon)George recently became the face of St John Ambulance’s Christmas appeal, which is running into the new year to help the charity raise as much money as possible.

The appeal was sent to more than 6,000 people, asking for donations to the charity at Christmas time, as well as supported across social media and email.

Anne-Marie said: “It’s been posted out to previous subscribers, and people on the database for St John Ambulance, and its focus is about raising funds for badges, and cadets, like the clubs that George and Mary have been members of.

“One of the things I have always noticed is the leaders and youth workers, it’s not their job – these are volunteers as well.

“They’ll be full time in a hospital, and then come in at 7pm on a Monday night running these clubs, so I think the more that they can raise funds to get these clubs up and running, and the more volunteers they can encourage to do it, then the more young people can have those kinds of experiences.”

The Bolton News: The part that George enjoyed most about being a member was being immersed into activities straight away after not being sure of what to do at first.

He said: “When I joined, I engaged but it was a new thing for me, and a new place where I didn’t really know what I was doing. But after I’d done this and learned that it was really helpful, I thought I should probably pay attention to that, and encourage people to join.”

His sister Mary, seven, has also followed in George’s footsteps and joined the charity as a young badger volunteer.

She now knows how to help with choking, bleeds, and burns, but learning about the heart and practising doing CPR is by far her favourite skill.

George said: “I have learned to be confident, and people shouldn’t be ashamed to do things like join a club, like not a football club or a boxing club, but join something that could actually help you and change your life, and it’s a great experience.”

The Bolton News: George Parkinson in badger uniform salutingGeorge Parkinson in badger uniform saluting (Image: St John Ambulance)Anne-Marie added: “I was looking for a club that George could join because we’d tried football, Taekwondo, and things like that, and he just didn’t really seem very interested in them.

“He was on a waiting list for scouts, which never came about, and I saw the St John Ambulance badgers and thought let’s have a look at that, and he got in, and from day one the youth leaders just got George and really understood him.

“And I think it was a two-way thing. I think George was obviously interested and wanted to learn, but they had the interest in the young people turning up.

“You don’t know where it might lead for the future, because for instance when they become teenagers, there are opportunities particularly for St John Ambulance to be going to events and helping out.”

To help support St John Ambulance click here (sja.org.uk/christmas2023).

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.