Ilfracombe teenager honoured for helping impaled cyclist

Joseph Bulmer

Izzy Brookes receives award after helping 18-year-old Ben Foulds after crash at Old Sticklepath Hill in Barnstaple

A young woman from Ilfracombe has been presented with a first aid award for her quick actions to help a friend who ended up impaled on railings in Barnstaple after a cycle accident.

Isobel Brookes, known as Izzy, was awarded a St John Ambulance Young First Aider of the Year Award for rushing to help after seeing Ben Foulds collide with the railings at Old Sticklepath Hill last November.

When 18-year-old Izzy reached the scene she was startled to discover it was her friend Ben, also 18, who had been badly injured and left him with railings impaled in his side.

But after learning first aid through her role as a member of the Air Training Corps, she knew what she had to do.

“He had a large section of railings in his side and severe head injuries,” she said.

“Someone was on the phone to the ambulance so I checked his breathing and injuries. I decided it was important to keep him still as I feared he had a spinal injury.

“When he came round Ben tried to push himself up but I knew he had to keep still so I held his head and reassured him until the ambulance arrived.”

The annual awards ceremony celebrates the quick thinking of young people who put first aid knowledge into action in exceptional circumstances.

A total of 20 winners included a 16-year-old who saved his mum’s life with CPR on Christmas Eve, a five-year-old boy who attended to an unconscious woman in a supermarket and an eight-year-old who helped to treat her mum’s severe burns.

Izzy, who is studying A Levels at Petroc and aims to become a doctor, said she had told Ben about the award and he was very pleased for her.

“We have spoken about the accident because he can’t remember anything of the day itself and I know he is pleased my actions have been recognised,” she said.

“As I want to be a doctor, winning this award means a lot to me because it enforces my desire to help people and dedicate my life to first aid and medicine.”

Ben, whose injuries included a broken back and swelling on the brain, spent months in hospital and at a rehabilitation unit.