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Bella Plank, 13, with the neighbour she helped back in February, Lynley Burling. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

St John cadet aids collapsed neighbour

A 13-year-old girl has obtained a prestigious accolade from St John after rushing to the aid of an injured neighbour.
Bella Plank, from Maramarua School, has received the ‘Challenge Coin’ – a token that recognises “extraordinary acts” on behalf of Hato Hone St John.
It comes after a day in February, when – after just one term at St John Youth – Bella noticed a neighbour who had collapsed in her garden.
Bella and her friend went over to assist and, keeping calm, Bella “took control of the situation”.
She checked on the patient, Lynley Burling, before ringing the ambulance and her mother, and Googling the symptoms to see if she could do anything more to help.
Lynley said she was “blown away” by how calm Bella was, and how she had “a thoughtful and considered response” to the situation.
Bella’s coin was only the fourth in the northern region to be presented, and Hauraki Plains Youth divisional manager Marie Holtham said she was “extremely proud” of her cadet.
The Challenge Coin was created to recognise “extraordinary acts that embody the value of St John” and previous recipients include a junior cadet from the South Island who received a coin for calling an ambulance and assisting her mother when she was ill.
A senior cadet received a coin for doing CPR at an event she was attending, while a manager received one for assisting when she was first on scene at a mass casualty incident with more than 50 patients.
“The St John Youth Programme is fantastic for teaching our cadets, setting them up with such a range of life skills that will take them so far,” Marie told The Profile.
“The opportunities are huge. We have on offer: camps, courses, badges, competitions, formal ceremonies, leadership training, and social opportunities. It’s so fulfilling to see our new cadets incredibly enthusiastic and keen to learn and already taking advantage of some of these activities.”
Bella’s Challenge Coin was presented to her by St John’s district youth manager Mike Earl, with Lynley Burling, Bella’s mum and other whānau present.
DETAILS: Hauraki Plains St John Youth Division meets on Tuesday nights during term times at the Centennial Centre on Hayward Road, Ngātea, 6pm – 7.30pn.St John Youth is a programme for rangitahi from 5 – 18 which is similar to Scouts and Guides, but with a First Aid focus.