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Life-saving schoolboy receives Chairman's Medal

Published November 10, 2017 11.07am

A nine-year-old who saved another boy from drowning has become the youngest ever recipient of the Chairman's Medal, the highest honour in County Durham.

Blake Stephenson Chairman's Medal

Blake Stephenson with Cllr Bill Kellett

Blake Stephenson pulled the French boy from the bottom of a swimming pool and dragged him to the side for help while on holiday in the summer.

His mum and another member of the public then performed CPR until emergency services arrived and although the boy was placed in a medically-induced coma, he later made a full recovery.

Special moment

Blake was presented with the medal at Kirk Merrington Primary School by our Chairman Cllr Bill Kellett, school aquatic development manager David Bullen, a representative from the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) and headteacher Nicola Murray.

The humble lifesaver becomes the youngest ever recipient of the medal, following Olympic gymnast Amy Tinkler who received the award last year.

Blake also received a Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) Commendation and 125th anniversary badge.

Following the ceremony, Blake said: "I feel very excited - I didn't think I would get an award and I didn't realise how special they are.

"A lot of people have come to see me, my sister is very grumpy that I'm getting all of this attention!"

Lifesaving skills

Blake was taught his lifesaving skills as part of the national curriculum swimming lessons in school, which includes learning about the dangers of being in and around water, rescue and ways of summoning help using water-based solutions.

Pupils also take part in water safety and drowning prevention activities, lessons and assemblies as part of the RLSS' National Drowning Prevention Week and our Dying to be Cool campaign which highlights the dangers of water and cold water shock.

Cllr Kellett said: "Blake's quick-thinking and heroic actions saved a young person's life and highlight the importance of learning vital lifesaving skills and how to act in an emergency.

"I am delighted to be able to present him with this medal, one of our most prestigious civic honours."

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