Each of these four children – the youngest of them just five – is without doubt a hero. 

Their stories are all different, but they have one thing in common: calm, level-headed and awe-inspiringly brave, they all leapt to the rescue of someone in dire need by using lifesaving first aid.

And their courage has now been recognised with a nomination to be named The Mail on Sunday Guy Evans Young Hero of the Year.

The winner will be announced at the Mail on Sunday-backed St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes awards. 

Hosted by television and music star Myleene Klass and supported by Laerdal, creators of the Resusci Anne, they will be held at the Grange, St Paul’s Hotel in London on the evening of September 7.

From left: Bethany, Joshua, Bradley and Charlotte – Mail on Sunday readers must vote to decide which one of these ‘fantastic four’ will be named The Mail on Sunday Guy Evans Young Hero of the Year

It will be a heartwarming celebration of ordinary people who have made the difference between life and death.

But before that happens, Mail on Sunday readers, must vote to decide which one of these ‘fantastic four’ will receive the award – named after a teenage boy who died following a suspected heart arrhythmia while riding his motorbike.

Just 17 at the time, Guy’s heart stopped beating, which meant he couldn’t breathe. Basic first aid – CPR – could have given him a chance to survive.

Now read on to discover how each one of these young people became a lifesaver, and choose your hero…

When Robert stopped breathing, Bethany said ‘It’s OK mum, I know what to do…’  

Bethany Simpson, 12, lives in Cornwall with her mother Jane, stepfather Robert, and her sister Natalie and their brother.

Bethany Simpson, 12, saved her stepfather Robert’s life by giving him CPR when he fell unconscious and stopped breathing

Jane says: ‘We were at home in bed watching TV when I realised Robert had fallen unconscious and was not breathing very well.

‘Natalie heard me screaming and ran into the bedroom. I dialled 999 for help but I was crying hysterically. The emergency operator gave us instructions to put Robert into the recovery position.

‘Bethany helped me to do this, but before the ambulance arrived he stopped breathing. I completely froze but Bethany said, “It’s OK Mum, I know what to do.”

‘She started doing chest compressions and was pumping away at his chest for four or five minutes before the paramedics arrived.

‘When they took over she asked them, “Is he dead?”

‘And they said, “No, but he could have been if you hadn’t done what you did.”

‘Thankfully Robert went on to make a full recovery.

‘I’m so proud of Bethany and so very, very grateful. She’s always been calm in a crisis, but I was meant to be the mum and I didn’t have the courage to do what she did.

‘She had had a first-aid lesson at school just two weeks before and this gave her the confidence to know what to do, but I don’t think she ever dreamt she’d be using it on her family.’

Little Josh came to my rescue when I had an epileptic fit  

Joshua Reece, five, lives in Sidcup, Kent, with his mother Natalie, 41, and twin brother Nathan.

Joshua Reece, five: at the age of just four he called the emergency services when his mother Natalie had an epileptic fit

Natalie says: ‘It was one of the hottest days of the year last summer and I was filling the paddling pool with hot water from the kitchen sink. 

‘The last thing I remember before the seizure is a funny feeling coming over me.

‘Although I am epileptic, I hadn’t had a seizure since Joshua and Nathan were six weeks old. However, I had taught Joshua what to do if I ever did have one because I knew how sensible he was.

‘His twin brother is autistic and mute – he was watching TV at the time. I’m the only adult in the house so I felt it was important Joshua knew what to do.

‘I fell on to the metal bit of the doorframe and just lay there. Joshua didn’t know if I was breathing or not. 

‘He stepped over me and ran inside to call the ambulance. We were able to get hold of a tape of the emergency call afterwards and he is able to tell them what has happened and remembers his address.

‘He must have been so frightened but he managed to stay calm.

‘It has me in floods of tears listening to it. I feel sick that I’d had to put him through that.

‘Luckily the ambulance crew arrived in three minutes. Joshua even remembered to ask them for their ID when they arrived.

‘I feel sad for him that he has that responsibility. Although I’m on medication indefinitely to manage my epilepsy, he’s quite paranoid all the time that it’s going to happen again.

‘I’ll be for ever grateful to him for making that call. He’s my hero.’

When I heard the motorbike crash, I dropped my bag and ran to help   

Bradley Knight, 17, lives in Co Durham with mother Dawn, 48, father Graham, 49, who runs a double-glazing business, and brother Lewis, 16.

Bredley Knight, 17, aided a motorbike accident victim and treated a pregnant witness in shock while calling an ambulance

Bradley says: ‘I was on a break at college when I heard a loud scraping and bang and I knew something had happened on the road nearby. 

‘I dropped my bag and ran up the embankment and through the trees and jumped over the barrier.

‘It’s a very busy road and I was met by the sight of a man who had obviously fallen off his motorbike and was lying on the floor. 

‘A lady who had been travelling behind the motorbike in her car had pulled over and put her hazards on. 

‘The bike engine was still running and leaking petrol everywhere, so I immediately turned it off and approached the guy who had come off his bike and told him to stay still. 

‘I began to assess him and treat him for shock and concussion. He was responsive but had head and leg injuries. 

‘He wanted to get up but I put him in the recovery position, supported his leg and put my jacket over him. I then ran to check the lady in the car to see if she was OK. 

‘She was pregnant and in shock. I called the emergency services and reported the accident while treating the motorcyclist for his injuries and gathering his information. 

‘I talked to them both until the paramedics turned up and then went back to college.

‘I’ve been an Army cadet for six years and we’re regularly taught first aid. I tend to take emergency situations in my stride and stay calm. I’m not the sort of person who can stand by. 

‘I always have to help.’

Dad was bleeding from a chainsaw cut…luckily I’m not squeamish!  

Charlotte Cleasby, 17, lives in Coventry with her mother Beverley, 56, father Neil, 50, who owns his own analytics consultancy company, and sister Ellie, 19, who is at university.

Charlotte Cleasby, 17, called 999 and stemmed bleeding when her father Neil suffered potentially fatal chainsaw cuts to his arm

Charlotte says: ‘My dad was up a 10ft ladder cutting branches off a tree in our garden with a chainsaw last year, when the ladder slipped.

‘As he fell, the chainsaw came down and cut into his arm badly in two places. I’d been in the garden helping him but just at that moment had stepped into the house and heard my mum screaming that Dad was hurt.

‘I ran to call 999 straight away. My sister wasn’t coping that well and panicking at the sight of all the blood so I put her on the phone to the ambulance operative and went to my dad, who was bleeding a lot.

‘I grabbed some pyjama bottoms from the clean laundry pile and tied them really tightly around his upper arm to make a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.

‘We’re quite far away from a hospital and it was more than ten minutes before paramedics arrived. I applied pressure to the wounds with clean tea towels and made sure his arm was elevated. 

‘Dad’s a strong person but he was losing colour quickly and kept saying, “I’m going to pass out.”

‘I’d been attending SJA classes every week for the past two or three years so I knew what to do.

‘I wasn’t stressed or upset. I just knew I needed to do something. Luckily I’m not squeamish about blood. I plan to apply to study medicine at university next year.

‘The ambulance took him to the trauma department and he needed surgery to repair the tendons in his arm and wrist, as well as hundreds of internal and external stitches.

‘He went on to make a full recovery but the paramedics said he probably would have died if I hadn’t done what I did.’


Barney Calman, health editor for the MoS

Next time you dust off the step-ladder and set out to trim back that rhododendron, remember: more than 100,000 AE visits each year are a result of a DIY accident in the home. 

About 40,000 of these involve falling off a ladder, and 20,000 involve severe cuts.

The father of one of our brave Guy Evans Award nominees managed both at the same time.

So, would you know what to do if a member of your family were injured like this?

Sadly, between 50 and 70 people die annually as a result of such mishaps. 

It’s o guarantee, but rapid first aid gives anyone with a life-threatening injury the best chance of survival.

Although it is not mandatory, more schools than ever are teaching first aid, and many workplaces offer programmes.

It can be as little as 30 minutes a couple of times a year. You can get the basics just by visiting sja.org.uk or downloading the St John Ambulance app. 

And as these four astonishing stories show, having first-aid knowledge really can make the difference between life and death.