BOSSES have paid tribute to the Doncaster health worker who was caught up in a lifesaving drama while on holiday.
Helen Beard was taking an Easter break from her job with NHS Doncaster when she turned into an action hero at a resort in Florida.
The 44-year-old, who is the trust’s director of performance, has already been awarded a medal in Florida for her amazing rescue of a baby who fell from the fourth-floor balcony of a hotel in Orlando.
Annette Laban, chief executive of NHS Doncaster, said: “I am extremely proud of Helen and her tremendous courage when faced with such a difficult lifesaving situation.
“The way she reacted so quickly and bravely to save a life of a young child is testament to her kind and caring nature.
“I hope that Helen and her family are now able to relax and enjoy the rest of their holiday in Florida.”
Helen, who has worked for the NHS in Doncaster for the past 10 years, initially with the Doncaster East Primary Care Trust and latterly at White Rose House where she monitors local health service and IT systems, was relaxing by the pool of the Econo Lodge Inn when the drama unfolded.
She looked up and spotted a small child dangling through the balcony and immediately ran to where 16-month-old Jah-Nea Myles was about to fall.
Helen was quick enough to get there in time to catch the toddler as she plummeted towards the ground.
Jah-Nea is thought to have hit the railings of the third-floor balcony below but suffered barely a scratch before landing in Helen’s arms.
The tot did slip from her grasp and hit the paving but luckily was not injured, although she was checked over in a local hospital.
Helen, who was on holiday with her partner and 14-year-old son, was later awarded the Orange County Sheriff Office’s Medal of Merit and received worldwide television coverage.
She told a press conference: “It feels a bit daunting to be here for something that was instinctive.
“It felt like it was something anyone would have done and I feel honoured to be recognised in this way. It was a very surreal event.
“Luckily I had my flat shoes on and I managed to run over and catch her as she lost her grip. It all happened so quickly. And I just sat with her and tried to calm her down.
“Everyone was panicking around me because it was very hectic.”
The child’s mother described Helen as an angel.