A MINEHEAD man who saved the life of an 11-week-old baby after it stopped breathing, has been nominated for an award along with his workplace.

Foxes Academy’s Martin Heard was walking home one lunchtime when he heard a woman screaming for help.

He said: “At first, I thought it was a domestic incident or something but when I heard her shout again, I knew something was wrong.”

This is The West Country:

Martin Heard who saved the life of an 11-week-old baby. Photo: Steve Guscott.

Little Phoenix Whitewick-Bennett, now approaching his second birthday, had choked on vomit and stop breathing.

His mother, Becki, was frantic for help as she waited for an ambulance to arrive, thanks to another stranger who had made the call for her.

Martin added: “I asked her could I take him and I just started performing CPR – I can remember learning it and it going to the back of my mind but it was just instinct or something for it to come back; you just get into that mode.

“It took a few attempts but we got him breathing again just as the ambulance arrived.”

It was all thanks to Martin’s training at Foxes Academy where he works in the maintenance team that he was able to help.

All the staff members are trained in advanced life-saving skills and they will be introducing compulsory first aid training to their students.

The training hotel and catering college was named as a finalist in the ‘Top of the Class’ category for St John Ambulance’s annual Everyday Heroes award ceremony.

Phoenix’s mum, Becki, said there was no way she could ever thank Martin enough for what he had done.

The 34-year-old mum of four said: “There is no doubt in my mind that, without Martin, my son would have died.

“He was already lifeless in my arms, his lips were purple.

“It was a miracle for him to be at the right place at the right time, I was thinking I’ve never seen this man before in my life but I just knew he would be able to help.”

Becki and her partner, Kevin, made Martin and his wife godparents of Phoenix as a small token of their thanks.

This is The West Country:

MARTIN and Sue Heard with Becki Whitewick, Kevin Bennett and Phoenix and India Rose Whitewick-Bennett. Photo: Becki Whitewick

But, for Martin, it’s all in a day’s work: “For a long time I tried not to think about what I had done, it was an horrific experience but I’m glad I was there to help.”

The Everyday Heroes awards programme was launched to celebrate the ordinary people who have used first aid to save a life and the individuals and businesses that have championed the cause, helping to create more first aiders in the community.

Steve Hargreaves, South-West regional director for St John Ambulance, said: “This year’s finalists have some truly remarkable stories to tell.

“It’s wonderful to be able to recognise the Everyday Heroes who are saving lives and encouraging others to do the same, and I hope they inspire others to learn first aid so they, too, can be the difference between life and death.”

The ceremony will take place on March 26, presented by Tess Daly.

For more information, visit www.sja.org.uk/everydayheroes