accessibility & help

Sue and Jean's story: novice first aiders help at crash

Motorbike crash first aid heroes© Info

Just minutes after completing a first aid course, two women witnessed a serious road accident and put their skills straight into action!

Sue Stephenson and Jean Johnson had just finished a four-day British Red Cross first aid training course on in Leicester when the incident happened. Minutes later, they were about to cross a busy road when they heard a huge bang.

Turning quickly, they saw one man screaming on the ground and a motorcyclist skidding across the road, having crashed his bike.

Sue recalled: “This all happened literally right in front of us. Jean and I looked at each other and both cried ‘I do not believe this!’ Then the adrenalin kicked in, and we took a deep breath and prepared to act. I remember thinking ‘Well, this is what we’ve been trained for…’”

First aid fast

After asking bystanders to phone 999 and diverting traffic, the novice first aiders headed straight for the casualties. Sue said: "I helped the motorcyclist and Jean went over to the lad. The motorcyclist was initially unconscious and had blood coming from his nose, which I was concerned about.

"I knew not to move him so I cradled his head and put my coat over him, and soon he opened his eyes. He asked where he was, then burst into tears because he was concerned for the lad he had hit, bless him! He’d hurt his wrist and his leg.”

She added: "The pedestrian had an open fracture of his right leg, so it was quite gory. He was obviously in agony, and Jean had to contend with lots of screaming and bad language! She valiantly kept the lad from getting up and held his leg near the fracture, comforting him all the time.”

Life-changing experience

There then followed a very tense wait. Sue recalled: “By the time the ambulances arrived it seemed like forever, although I’m sure it was really only five minutes. When we told the paramedics we were ‘fairly new’ first aiders – a bit of an understatement, maybe – they were lovely and full of praise. We stayed with both casualties for about an hour until they were finally put on stretchers and taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary.”

Looking back on the incident, Sue and Jean – who both work for the asylum and immigration tribunal service in Loughborough – feel that much of the credit should go to their ‘fantastic’ first aid trainers.

Sue said: “Both Jean and I have wanted to do first aid for a long time, and found the training course an amazing, life-changing experience, but neither of us thought that we would have to put our skills into practise quite so soon!

“What amazed me was that, when needed, all the training came back to us. We’re both very proud to be first aiders.”

Find out about first aid training

Become a first aid volunteer