Wolverhampton mother who saved daughter from choking urges others to learn life-saving skills

By Thomas Parkes | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

A Wolverhampton mother who saved her one-year-old daughter from choking has urged people to learn life-saving skills.

St John Ambulance volunteers Fran Watkins (left) and Cherrie Wall with the charity’s mascot, Bertie Badger.

Cherrie Wall, 25, had been playing in the garden with her daughter Lucy, before heading inside for a snack.

"She was hungry, and being the greedy little monkey that she is, Lucy decided not to chew her food and tried to swallow it whole instead," Cherrie said.

Lucy, who got the food stuck, began to cough and then suddenly "stopped" – struggling to breathe.

Cherrie, who lives near Bantock Park, sprang into action – having been a St John Ambulance volunteer for two decades.

She said: "There was a split second, where I paused and thought ‘Oh my goodness, my baby is choking’, but I sorted myself out, kicked into action and sorted her out.

“I gave her back blows – just as I’ve been trained to do since I was a child – and up came the food, along with a load of sick.

“It was a horrible experience, but it was over in moments, then Lucy was right as rain and ran outside to play again, as though nothing had happened.

“I’m so grateful that – thanks to years of training and experience with St John – I was able to help her in that awful moment where she couldn’t breathe.”


Now the 25-year-old, who also has a four-year-old daughter Amelia, has called on people – especially youngsters – in the city to join the volunteer-led service and learn the skills.

She added: "I do believe that the younger people learn the better they take it in as well.

"Then they can carry it on into adulthood and it sticks with them.

"I would urge people to get involved.


"There's so many people – if that happened to them they wouldn't know what to do.

"It literally is the difference between a life saved and a life lost.

"It's the few moments that make a difference."

Cherrie, who is a youth volunteer for St John's Pendeford Badger Sett, works with the charity's youngest first aiders.

Fran Watkins, the charity's area manager, said: "Seeing a child choke is not something we would wish on any parent.

"We are all very pleased and relieved Cherrie was able to put her St John Ambulance training to use and be the difference for her child.

“We are in need of more volunteers to join our team and work alongside Cherrie as first aiders and youth leaders, providing an invaluable service to our city.”

Prospective first aiders can apply online at

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at


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