A group of heroic schoolchildren rescued a man from certain death when they spotted him lying in a stream under some brambles.
The quick thinking kids, all aged between 11 and 13, have been recognised for their bravery after they made sure the man – who was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia – got the help he needed in hospital .
Aiden Millar, Seline Presti, Georgia Bagnall, Harry Gill, and Ollie Pool were walking to Clayton Hall Academy, near Stoke-on-Trent, in November last year when they saw what seemed to be a cluster of rubbish bags in the stream.
After taking a closer look, the youngsters realised it looked like a body and decided to stop and try and get help
Aiden called his father while Ollie tried flagging down passing adults and Harry dialled 999.
Aiden told Stoke-on-Trent Live : "I got butterflies in my stomach when I realised it was a person, and when I went over I thought it was just going to be a bag of rubbish.
"On closer look I discovered it was a man and I thought he was dead. He groaned and it turned out he was still alive.
"I called my dad and he told me it could have been a Guy Fawkes dummy, but I sent him a picture on my phone. When I found him I was really shocked and just didn't know what to do."
Ollie added: "As we got closer we saw the arms, body and face. We panicked and asked older students to call the police for us.
"It's good that we managed to help this man out, and it's nice that everyone has now been congratulating us for what we did.
Harry said: "We saw Ollie and Aiden who had noticed something in the river first. They called us over and then we saw what had happened, so I called the police and when they turned up we went to school.
"At first I didn't really know what it was but then we realised it was serious enough to call 999. We went to school and told them what had happened straight away.
"I was shocked and a bit upset because I'd never witnessed anything like that before but it feels good to have helped save someone's life."
The three boys have now been awarded the highly-respected Royal Humane Society Certificates of Commendation for their actions in what organisers called a "life and death" situation.
Andrew Chapman, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, said: "Schoolboys are naturally an inquisitive breed. Thank goodness. But for their inquisitiveness the man who had fallen face down in the water would not have been found and would certainly have died.
“As it is they raised the alarm, he was found in the nick of time, and went on to recover from his ordeal. This was a life and death situation and the three boys were true heroes. They richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”
Also involved in the rescue were Georgia Bagnall and Selina Prestin, both 13, who had been walking with Harry when they came across Ollie and Aiden staring at the brook.
Georgia said: "I looked and didn't know what it was, but then I looked a bit more and realised it was a body. I was shocked because I'd never seen anything like that before."
Selina said: "I instantly called Georgia's mum as mine was at work, and Harry called for an ambulance and then we went to school.
"The school have been very supportive because I was quite shaken up after, but we all supported each other as friends and I'm proud that we helped to save someone's life."
Officers discovered a 40-year-old man from Stoke-on-Trent at the scene. He was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia, and was rushed to hospital where he was put in a medically-induced coma before regaining consciousness 24-hours later.
He went on to make a full recovery.
All five pupils have also been put forward in for the local newspaper's awards, while the school is also recognising their bravery.
Ollie's mum, Catherine Pool, said all the parents are proud of their children.
She said: "It's not something you would expect so close to home. I'm very proud of them.
"Ollie went to school straight away afterwards but they called me saying he was in shock and I needed to pick him up."
Principal Caty Reid said: "Our team of leaders supported them and made sure they felt calm and had done all of the right things, which they had, and we are of course incredibly proud of them.
"This year we've launched our Principal's Award which has three levels – bronze, silver and gold. The gold award is for students who have gone above and beyond and we felt that possibly saving somebody's life was worthy of a gold. The five pupils are the first and only ones to have received it so far."
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