'I'm sorry for hitting you, but I don't want you to die' - brave girl honoured for saving granny's life
A courageous little girl has been rewarded with a bravery certificate for helping to save her granny's life by keeping her conscious as they waited on an emergency ambulance.
Although she is just seven-years-old, Autumn Carey has already proved she has an ability to remain calm in the face of trauma far beyond her tender years. Autumn was with her grandad Robert and granny Heather at their home near Claudy village when Heather, who suffers from asthma fell desperately ill and urgently needed medical help.
Living in an isolated area, Robert knew that an ambulance would find it difficult locating their house, so while he set off up the long lane it fell to Autumn to stay with her granny.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Robert explained just how brave his little grand-daughter proved to be. He said: "Heather had been to see her GP because she wasn't feeling well but when we returned to the house Heather deteriorated and we had to ring an ambulance fast.
"I knew they wouldn't find the house without being shown, so the girl at ambulance control said I should pass the phone to Autumn while I went down the lane which is about half a mile and waited for the ambulance.
"Heather was slipping in and out of consciousness but Autumn did everything the girl in ambulance control said.
"She nipped her granny in the face and slapped her to keep Heather conscious, but she kept saying 'I am sorry for hitting you granny but I don't want you to die'. Autumn kept talking to Heather and reassured her that the ambulance was coming. She was able to stay in control but I'm sure she was frightened.
"When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics, who must have been getting reports from the ambulance centre in Belfast because they were able to tell me Autumn did everything perfect and if it wasn't for her, Heather could have died. This was something very special and we are just so proud of her, she is our 999 hero."
While all the grown-ups are understandably proud of Autumn, she herself is at a bit of a loss about all the fuss. Back at her own home in Londonderry, Autumn said: "I just did what the girl on the phone told me to do and I wasn't too scared at all.
"She told me to take care of my granny and to watch out for the blue lights and so I did. I had to nip granny and slap her face but she wasn't cross with me. She knew I had to do it because that is what the girl on the phone told me to do and I always do what I am told. My wee brother is nine months and I do what mammy tells me to with him. I got an Easter egg from the hospital and a bravery certificate and I'm the first one of my friends to get one."
Autumn's bravery was marked in a very special way this week at the Western Trust where Chief Executive, Elaine Way, presented her with the certificate for bravery.
She said: "I am delighted to meet Autumn after her grandfather contacted us to tell us of her wonderful bravery."