TEENAGERS Samantha Stirland and Katie Hutcheon have been hailed as heroes after their quick-thinking actions helped save the life of a pensioner who had fallen into a diabetic coma.
Graham Wood (74) had been walking his dog on Millennium Park in Mansfield Woodhouse when he had a ‘hypo’ and fell to the floor unconscious.
He was only 15 minutes from death when paramedics arrived at the scene after the girls - who are both 17 and from Mansfield Woodhouse - dialled 999.
Graham, of New Mill Lane, said: “I can’t put into words how I feel about what they have done for me - they have saved my life.”
But the two friends are extremely modest about their heroics.
Katie said: “We don’t feel like we did anything special - any reasonable person who had seen him in that state would have done the same.”
Graham had left the house at around 6.15pm on 23rd May to take his Welsh border collie Taffy on his usual evening walk around the Millennium Park area, off Welbeck Road, and was walking along when he passed out.
“I stumbled twice and it didn’t register I was having a hypo,” he said.
“Usually if I am going, my eyes blur up but they didn’t.
“I don’t know what happened then - I can’t remember anything more.”
Graham fell into a patch of long grass and nettles and must have hit his head as he fell - possibly on a nearby steel seat - as he also had severe head injuries and was bleeding.
It was there that Samantha and Katie found him as they were taking a stroll to Morrisons.
Katie, a student at Manor School’s sixth form, said: “He was lying on his back with his leg in the air and I thought it was either someone enjoying the weather or someone drunk.
“We shouted ‘excuse me, are you alright?’ and could see him twitching.
“We went closer and could see he was having a fit and bleeding, so we called 999 straight away.”
The girls thought that Graham must have been mugged because of his injuries.
Said Samantha, who studies at West Notts College, “His eye was properly swollen - we thought he had been attacked.
“Diabetes never crossed our minds at all.”
Samantha ran to the road to find out what street they were near to direct the ambulance to the right location, and when paramedics arrived they helped bring the stretcher up to where Graham was lying.
One of the paramedics saw Graham was carrying a Lucozade bottle - which he said he always carries with him - and appropriate medical treatment was taken after his blood sugar level was tested.
Katie said: “Sam was holding the glucose drip and once he was hooked up to it he started to come round.”
Graham’s wife Margaret (56) quickly arrived at the scene after being called by the paramedics and she thanked the girls before going to hospital with Graham, where he was kept for just one night.
But as Graham recovered, Margaret wanted to thank the girls properly and contacted Chad and Manor School to find them.
They were reunited at the Woods’ home on Thursday.
“The paramedic told me he was 15 minutes from death,” said Margaret.
“If they had gone to Morrisons first and then come back, he would have been dead.
“For young girls of their age, it was a job well done and I want them to be recognised for what they did.”
Katie and Samantha are being put up for several awards for their life-saving heroics and may even be nominated to be Olympic torchbearers.
Graham added: “I think they are wonderful.
“I am very proud of them myself so their parents must be even prouder.”