16 year old standing at a bus stop where he gave first aid to a schoolboy

Rowan Truelove

When 11-year-old Lewis stepped off the school bus he was immediately hit by a car. Luckily, a cool-headed teenager knew exactly what to do, thanks to a first aid course.

Many people would panic if they saw a child hit by a car. Not Rowan Truelove. The 16-year-old knew exactly what to do.
Thankfully, Rowan had done a two-hour first aid course at his air cadets with St John Ambulance.

“The first aid training I did was very basic but it really helped,” Rowan said.

“The bus had pulled up and Lewis stepped out into the road and a car just came along and that was it. He had a broken leg – there was no doubt about that.”

A boy with a walking frame sits on a sofa talking to the student who helped him after a car accident

Lewis (left) and Rowan

“The first thing to do was deal with the situation to make it safe. I told one person to call 999 and told some others to direct the traffic.

“There were lots of children standing around Lewis so I asked them to stand back and give him some space.

“I talked to him to distract him from what was happening and gave him constant reassurance.

“I asked people to give me their coats. I used one to support his injured leg and keep it still, another to put under his head and others to cover him and keep him warm.

“When the first responders arrived my job was to keep talking to him and hold his hand.

“I definitely think all young people should learn first aid in secondary school.”

‘I can’t shift the sound’

Lewis’s mum Gemma was on her way to meet Lewis from the bus when she heard his scream.

She said: “It’s a sound that I can’t shift. I knew straight away it was Lewis and when I got there he was lying on the floor and Rowan was by him.

“Rowan was a godsend. If it wasn’t for Rowan doing what he did I dread to think what would have happened.

“We’re lucky Rowan was on the bus and learned his first aid. I think secondary schools should teach it.”

At the British Red Cross we agree with Gemma and Rowan. We also think first aid should be part of the national curriculum.

And we’re not the only ones. St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation and 14,000 people all supported MP Teresa Pearce’s Bill last month. We called for no child to leave secondary school without the skills and confidence to save a life.

But here’s the thing. At the same moment as Rowan was comforting Lewis in Oxfordshire, just a few miles from David Cameron’s constituency home, Government backbenchers blocked the First Aid in Schools Bill. They spoke non-stop, ensuring that the time set aside for the debate was used up and MPs were denied a vote on the issue.

One lesson equips you for life
Two mothers and sons sitting on a sofa

From left: Gemma, Lewis, Rowan and Sharon

Rowan’s mum, Sharon, has worked on many overseas projects for the Red Cross. She is also first aid trained.

She said: “Rowan did his first aid training through the air cadets so it was just lucky that day that one of the children on the bus knew what to do.

First aid training would only need to take up one PSHE lesson and those children would be equipped for life.

“The economics are minimal compared to the potential long-term effects of someone not getting the right treatment quickly in an emergency.”

Would you know what to do?