Boy, 16, who saved neighbour’s life with CPR is honoured by Princess Royal

A 16-year-old boy who saved his neighbour’s life with CPR after going into “autopilot mode” has been recognised by the Princess Royal.

Joshua Youngs, a cadet at St John Ambulance from Ipswich, Suffolk, and his mother Kirsty Youngs, 40, last November heard screaming from outside their home and ran outside to investigate the commotion.

Ms Youngs, a former midwife and now an emergency worker, brought along her response kit and the two arrived at their neighbour’s house to find her slumped over the sofa chair, her skin blue and breathing laboured.

Joshua Youngs with mum Kirsty
Joshua Youngs with mum Kirsty (St John Ambulance/PA)

A year after helping to save her life, he was honoured along with other young lifesavers at the St John Ambulance’s annual Young Achievers awards, which was attended by Anne.

Joshua told the PA news agency: “What happened was (the neighbour) had a cardiac arrest and was slumped over the side of the sofa chair.

“I did my primary survey and checked the danger on the floor … so I cleared some room on the floor.”

The neighbour had a “very thready” heartbeat, and the young cadet started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while his mother called the emergency services.

Young Achievers 2023, Priory Church
Joshua Youngs at Priory Church on Wednesday (Michael Hall/PA)

“As most people would be, I was a little bit nervous just before starting CPR, but that was more just being in a strange environment,” Joshua said.

“But it was kind of like I went into autopilot mode … everything just came naturally.

“I had practised CPR on a dummy loads of times in training but this was different.

“I didn’t question it, though, I didn’t have time, so I just got on and did it.

“It was almost like making a cup of tea and stirring it, you just do it.

“I was confident in my own ability, and I didn’t really think about it so I must have been confident.”

Young Achievers 2023, Priory Church
Joshua Youngs was 15 years old when he saved his neighbour’s life in November 2022 (Michael Hall/PA)

An ambulance arrived within minutes and Joshua continued CPR until his neighbour had been successfully treated.

The teenager helped calm down his neighbour who was “worried” and burst into tears after regaining consciousness.

He said: “One of the people (at the scene) said had I not shown up and started CPR then the results might have been different.”

The young cadet’s mother said: “If Josh hadn’t been there it would have been much more difficult to help. He was so calm and so professional. He took everything in his stride.

“I come from a family of healthcare workers, and I’ve been in the sector since my early 20s.

“I remember responding to my first cardiac arrest and it was incredibly difficult.

“For Joshua to take control of the situation and respond in the way he did, I’m honestly so incredibly proud of him.”

Joshua Youngs and The Princess Royal
Joshua Youngs is a cadet for St John Ambulance (Brian Aldrich/PA)

Joshua, who is hoping to become a neurosurgeon, was honoured along with other young lifesavers at the St John Ambulance’s annual Young Achievers awards on Wednesday in London.

The event celebrated outstanding contributions by St John Ambulance Badgers (aged five to 10) and Cadets (aged 11-17), as well as young carers.

The 16-year-old said it was an honour being recognised by the Princess Royal and attributed his life-saving skills to St John Ambulance.

He said: “St John was absolutely amazing … I would recommend it to many people, it’s definitely something that people should take up.

“You never would think I would have to do CPR but all of a sudden it was my neighbour, but it could honestly be anyone.”