Modest teenager saved toddler’s life on beach walk

NAWN 1412173AM1 Wetherby Jubilee Awards. The Mayor of Wetherby Cllr. Harry Chapman with Wetherby Jubilee Award nominees Laura Mackintosh, Michael Dopson and Robert Etherington. (1412173AM1)
NAWN 1412173AM1 Wetherby Jubilee Awards. The Mayor of Wetherby Cllr. Harry Chapman with Wetherby Jubilee Award nominees Laura Mackintosh, Michael Dopson and Robert Etherington. (1412173AM1)
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A teenager who saved the life of a two-year-old girl while on holiday in Cornwall last June has been rewarded for his quick actions.

Agricultural student Michael Dopson, of Ainsty Road in Wetherby, collected the Jubilee Award for 2014, presented to Wetherby’s outstanding young person.

The 18-year-old Askam Bryan College student, who also works as a part-time landscaper, was nominated by assistant group scout leader and family friend Mary-Jane Archer.

“Michael was walking on a beach in Cornwall, near Newquay, and came across a little girl who was face down in the shallows,” said Mrs Archer.

“He picked her up and took her to the sand and did CPR on her while someone else went and got the lifeguards.

“He had known what to do by being an Air Cadet some years ago.

“He got her breathing and then the lifeguards took over.”

The girl, who had slipped away from her grandparents, was airlifted to hospital and was still unconscious when they took her away but has since made a full recovery and the family have kept in touch with Michael.

“There is no doubt that if Mike had not acted as he did she would have drowned as no one else would have noticed in time,” added the 1st Wetherby Scouts official.

Michael was last September rewarded for his actions by the Lifeguards Association for the best rescue of the season in Devon and Cornwall, an award rarely given to a civilian.

“Michael is a kind and unassuming teenager who acted very bravely,” added Mrs Archer.

“I think him winning the award was great, he is a young man who would not boast about what he did but was recognised by the lifeguards and given an award from them too.

“He acted quickly with the skills he knew and has since learned more first aid, which he believes all should be taught.

“In Scouting we teach first aid through all age groups including young people and adults.”

Mrs Archer added of the Jubilee award: “Young people can achieve great things in their communities yet very often they get bad press, especially teenagers so it is a great thing that Wetherby has this award in place.”

The Jubilee Award was introduced by the Town Council to reward young people whose actions and deeds have been outstanding.

Mayor Coun Harry Chapman said: “Michael Dopson was a just winner.

“He kept his head and used First Aid resuscitation techniques he learnt as part of his training at the Air Cadets.

“Michael was one of several put forward for the award and one of many that each in their own right justified an award.”

Michael’s dad Mr Dopson said his son, a former St Aidans pupil, was very proud to win the award but had been low key about winning.

“He said his training, although a few years earlier in the Scouts and Air Cadets, just kicked in.

“Afterwards the lifeguards were great with him and kept checking on him days later and still keep in touch.”

Runners-up in the Jubilee Award were Laura Mackintosh and Robert Etherington.