Girl commended for bravery after mother loses finger

  • An 11-year-old from Oxfordshire has been praised by the emergency services for her calm actions, after her mother had her finger pulled off by a horse.

    Bella received the commendation from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust “for demonstrating true presence of mind and exceptional bravery when calling 999.”

    Bella Austin and her mother Gill were heading to a showjumping event in Berkshire last month when the accident happened.

    While the pair were loading Bella’s pony on to a trailer, Gill’s finger became caught up in the pony’s lead rope.

    When the pony pulled back, Gill’s finger went with it.

    Surgeons were unable to reattach the finger.

    Bella called for an ambulance telling Jacqui Bond, a call taker at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Emergency Operations Centre, that her mother’s little finger on her left hand had come off.

    “I told her she’d done really well and given exactly the information I needed and that I wished more adults could be as calm and brave as she was,” said Jaqui.

    Medibike technician, Barry Pritchard, who attended Gill, added: “Bella’s one very brave young lady. She was stood half-way up a long drive on the phone to our Emergency Operations Centre as I arrived. She directed me and soon after the ambulance where to go. She didn’t appear upset, even when she said goodbye to her mum as the ambulance conveyed her to John Radcliffe Hospital.”

    Gill added: “Bella stayed incredibly calm and gave the ambulance service directions to the remote location where the accident happened.

    “Bella asked a lady who lives nearby to go and look out for the ambulance which, I’m glad to say, arrived in about 20 minutes from our call. Once I was packed off in the ambulance, Bella stayed behind with friends who had arrived by then and caught her pony — who had run back to his field. She was fantastic throughout and I am really proud of her.”

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