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Posted on: 03/07/2021

Year 11 Duke of Edinburgh boys skills tested on expedition

On a bright morning on Sunday, 6th June a group of seven Year 11 TWGSB boys were undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award assessment expedition.  As they hiked across fields in Langton Green, a pretty village near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, they discovered a lady in distress and experiencing great pain. Debbie Hargreaves had been walking her two dogs when she slipped in the mud and broke her pelvis leaving her unable to move, causing incredible pain and putting her into a state of shock. 

The TWGSB ‘Group 4’ boys discovered her and immediately snapped into action, calling on their first aid and teamwork training from the DofE award course.  They worked together to divide roles supporting Ms Hargreaves, calling emergency services and searching for help in the immediate area.  Using their camping mats and sleeping bags to make her more comfortable, Mihir Sabharwal and Tom Edge kept Ms Hargreaves conscious by talking to her constantly, whilst Ben Rayner, Ziad Alnaib, Vincent Greenhalf, Joseph Morel-Paulo and Leon Ocak calmed her agitated dogs, went to her house to retrieve her husband and communicated with the ambulance team to help them find the remote, rural location.  The boys made the best of use of modern technology to speedily assist the situation by using the What3Words app to give their precise position.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service paramedic said: “The quick thinking of the boys in alerting us to what had happened and coming to Debbie’s aid was crucial in ensuring she received the help she required swiftly. They were also extremely helpful assisting us at the scene. We wish Debbie a speedy recovery.”

Norry Barber, DofE Co-ordinator for KCC and leader on the event, said: “It is gratifying to know that the training we and our volunteers provided the boys proved to be so effective in a real-life situation. “The boys were outstanding in dealing with the situation and very modest in the debrief of the incident.“

Ms Hargreaves said: “I fell very awkwardly and knew I had injured myself badly.  I was hyperventilating and so my dogs were also quite distressed.  This wonderful group of DofE lads came along, took control of the situation and helped in so many ways.  They were just so genuinely kind and I really don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Headteacher Ms Simpson said: “We are incredibly proud of our boys who calmly executed their training to manage what was obviously an incredibly unsettling experience for them.  The Duke of Edinburgh Award provides a fabulous grounding in life skills and this experience proved how important those skills are.”

Ms Hargreaves is now back from hospital, making a strong recovery and hopes to be back to her six-mile daily walks very soon.

July 2021 DoE award

The boys were awarded the John Harrison cup at our annual awards ceremony and Ms Hargreaves visited to present the cup and thank them personally for their service.