A quick-thinking toddler has been honoured with a police award after he dialled 999 when his mum collapsed to the ground unconscious.
Rowan Rychel, aged two, calmly picked up the phone to emergency services and reported: “Mummy’s sleeping and she won’t wake up”.
Officers quickly traced the call and paramedics sped to the scene, in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, where they found Rowan’s mum Francesca slumped on the floor.
After coming round she was rushed to Borders General hospital, in Melrose, Scotland, where she was kept in overnight for observation before being allowed home the following day.
Yesterday Rowan, now three, was awarded a Meritorious Award by Chief Constable David Strang of Lothian and Borders police.
But her proud mum revealed that she wouldn’t have made the call in September 2011 if she hadn’t told her off for previously dialling 999 as she played with the phone.
Francesca said: “She was at that age when she was playing with the phone all the time and once she dialled 999.
“I told her off and said if she did that again the police would come. Thankfully it looks like that message got through and I’m so glad that she did phone 999 this time.
“I can’t remember much about that day. We were playing hide and seek and I got up from the sofa too quickly and I just passed out.
“The next thing I remember is coming round and finding the police there.”
Francesca dislocated her knee and hit her head in the fall but did not suffer any lasting damage.
Rowan took to the stage yesterday morning during the awards ceremony at Lothian and Borders Police HQ, Edinburgh.
Mum Francesca couldn’t make the event but her proud dad Robert, 36, a network administrator, told how he was amazed by Rowan’s resourcefulness.
Mr Rychel said: “It’s absolutely amazing – I’m so proud of Rowan. She was just a year old at the time.
“She’s a very clever girl for her age – and I keep having to say that to people.
“Rowan had previously dialled 999 by accident and her mum had told her that she was only meant to dial the number if there was an emergency – so it must have just stuck.
“She was completely unconscious when the police arrived and Rowan was just running around the house.
“My first reaction was disbelief. When I got the call at work, I rushed home immediately – I was about an hour away. I was dumbfounded when they told me what happened.
“We’re so very proud of her, but hope it doesn’t have to happen again. But if it does, she’s moved up from house phones onto mobiles now – so we should be in safe hands.”
Tiny Rowan said: “I’m very proud of getting the award and I’m happy that I helped my mummy.
“I was a little bit scared but I phoned 999 – and I’m ready to do it again.”
Police spokeswoman Ali Chalmers hosted the prize giving section.
She said: “Rowan stayed very calm when the ambulance was called and chatted away to the officers until the paramedics arrived.
“The officer involved was taken back by Rowan’s actions and we don’t know what might have happened if she didn’t make that emergency call.”
“Rowan is a credit to her family and we are proud to honour her.”
Other heroes who were presented with awards included teenager Danielle McAvoy, for assisting in the safe return of a missing three-year-old boy in Livingston, in August 2012, and five brave bystanders who rescued Katie-Lou MacLean from the sea at Eyemouth Harbour in June 2012.
Katie-Lou MacLean’s family said they are grateful to Charlene McCulloch, PC Brian Smith, Clare Waller and Norman Richardson, Terry Dodds for their part in their daughter’s rescue and were pleased they were being recognised yesterday.
PC Clark Taylor and PC Kenneth Robertson were honoured for saving a woman from drowning in the River Esk, Musselburgh, in July 2012.
Chief Constable Strang said: “It’s absolutely appropriate that we acknowledge the actions of the award winners. Friends and family are rightly proud to see everyone receive their awards.
“This is a very special event for Lothian and Borders Police because it’s our final event after 58 years. In April we will be part of the police service of Scotland.”
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