A HEROIC PE teacher is hoping her actions that saved the life of a three-year-old girl highlight the importance of learning CPR.
Frances Hammond has been recognised nationally for bringing youngster Maryam Ugradar back to life after she fell into a pond in the back garden of her Mirfield home.
The 43-year-old heard frantic knocking on her door on the evening of April 16. It came from Maryam’s auntie who looked “frightened” and asked Frances if she knew first aid.
She said she did and was asked to come quickly to the neighbouring house on Blake Hall Drive.
Frances, a teacher at Queensbury School in Bradford, recalled: “I didn’t know what had happened so I just ran across the road, I had my school uniform and my slippers on.
“I ran round the back of the house and Maryam was just on the floor, I asked what had happened and they (her family) said they’d found her in the pond.
“They’d tried to revive her but they just panicked and they were all screaming and shouting ‘please save her, don’t let her die’.
“I just got down and checked her pulse, I couldn’t find a pulse and her eyes were fixed to the sky. She was blue, she was so cold, and I just started CPR.
“It just clicked in, the training, I just remained calm and did what I needed to do.
“She eventually came round, but she wasn’t fully conscious and she was still so cold. We brought her inside to the lounge, took her clothes off and got her some blankets.
“I kept pressing her tummy and she was being sick, but it was just water because she had swallowed so much.”
An ambulance arrived after Frances had managed to revive little Maryam, and the mother-of-two said once the paramedics were taking care of her she found a quiet moment and slipped away home unnoticed.
She said: “I came back home and walked through the door and my two children were here. I just said ‘I’ve just saved a little girl’s life’ and I burst into tears.”
Maryam was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, where she made a full recovery.
Frances has been presented with a resuscitation certificate by the Royal Humane Society, and travels to London today (Friday) in the running for a CPR hero award from the British Heart Foundation.
Now she wants to use hers and Maryam’s story to encourage others to learn first aid and get cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.
Frances said: “I am proud and I’m really pleased about what I’ve done, but I don’t want it to be about me, it’s about the story.
“It’s about the fact that if more people knew about CPR would they be able to do what I did?”
Maryam’s father Hassan Ugradar was working in Bradford at the time of incident, but managed to get home in time to see his daughter breathing in the back of the ambulance.
He said: “I say it over and over again, but no matter how many times we say thank you to Frances it’ll never be enough. My daughter is literally here because of Frances.
“We don’t really want the whole situation to be escalated, it’s more about getting the awareness for CPR and how important it is.
“Everybody has that risk factor in their house whether we see it or not.”
Hassan said it took paramedics 29 minutes to arrive at the house.
He said: “The emergency services can’t be in every place at the right time, and that’s where CPR training comes into play.
“We’re blessed to have Frances across the road. From Frances’s perspective she’s saved this girl’s life.”
Frances met with Mirfield Mayor Martin Ibberson on Tuesday to talk about arranging funding for CPR training courses in the town.
Hassan confirmed that Maryam is almost back to her normal self. He said: “She’s doing really well, a few weeks afterwards I think she was still not herself fully.
“But she’s now running around causing a riot, you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with her.
“She says she was ‘swimming with the fish’ so she doesn’t really have any knowledge of what happened.”