Quick-thinking colleagues have been hailed as heroines and awarded national lifesaving honours – after bringing a choking baby back from the brink of death.
Bus interchange cleaner Fiona Bainbridge, aged 55, was on duty as usual when she was approached suddenly by the frantic mum of a five-week-old boy, who said her son was struggling to breathe.
Fiona immediately put into action the first aid training she’d been given, before calling emergency services and raising the alarm with her colleague Anita Smith, 28.
The baby’s hysterical mother and grandmother then watched as mum-of-two Anita also tried desperately to revive the baby – who had turned blue and limp – with the kiss-of-life.
It was just as the ambulance pulled in to Rotherham town centre interchange that the tot began to breathe again.
Anita said: “I’ll never forget that baby’s face smiling up at me for as long as I live.”
Now the two women’s lifesaving work has been honoured by the Royal Humane Society which has awarded them Resuscitation Certificates.
Anita, who has since been promoted to head of site at Sheffield Interchange on Pond Street in the city centre, said the incident was made all the more terrifying by verbal abuse from some passers-by as she and Fiona worked to save the little boy.
“There were people all around, shouting at us and saying we were using the wrong techniques, but I just stuck to my first aid training,” said Anita.
“The mum and grandmother were hysterical, and it was so scary because it was just a little baby.
“He stopped breathing when he was in my arms and went blue. I put my mouth over his mouth and nose and did a quick couple of breaths just as the ambulance was arriving.
“As the paramedics came to us, the baby came round.”
Fiona, of Nidderdale Road, Wingfield, said: “The mother was following us round asking please help, people were shouting, but I just tried to keep them calm and watch out for the ambulance.
“All we were bothered about was the baby boy. I was overwhelmed afterwards but so glad he was okay.”
Anita, of Thornton Street, Meadowbank, Rotherham, added: “I’ve got a three-year-old boy myself and I kept thinking it could have been him.”
Neither have heard from the family of the little boy since the incident last October, but they have been informed the baby - who had suffered reflux problems after being born prematurely - had made a good recovery.
The women are both employed by Resource, which provides cleaning, customer service and security for South Yorkshire Transport Executive.
Their boss, service delivery manager Greg Tydeman, said: “I’m extremely proud of these two ladies – everybody across the company can be rightly proud of the work they did, and it’s fantastic they’ve won these awards.”
Royal Humane Society secretary Dick Wilkinson, announcing the awards at the organisation’s London headquarters, said: “Both these women gave excellent first aid in very stressful and trying circumstances and, thanks to them, this baby was delivered safely into the arms of paramedics.
“The baby started breathing again but on two occasions stopped, and had to be given the kiss-of-life again.
“But for their swift action he could well have died. Put frankly they were the right people in the right place at the right time.”
David Young, deputy interim director of SYPTE, added: “We are delighted Fiona and Anita have been recognised for this courageous act and offer the highest praise for their incredible compassion and dedication.”
The Royal Humane Society was founded in 1774 and is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.