Claire is a young superhero’

AN extraordinary part-time first aider from Brixington has been recognised by one of the world s top humanitarian organisations for saving lives.

AN 'extraordinary' part-time first aider from Brixington has been recognised by one of the world's top humanitarian organisations for saving lives.

Claire Southwell, 22, from The Marles, Exmouth, travelled to London for the Red Cross's Humanitarian Citizen Awards, last Saturday.

At the Houses of Parliament she was honoured by celeb-presenter Connie Huq and Lib Dem human rights campaigner MP Simon Hughes.

The awards are part of The British Red Cross's search for the UK's 'young superheroes', celebrating the valuable contribution inspirational young people make to the lives of others.

Claire, who works for software company Digita by day, is on call to save lives at the drop of a hat.

She was nominated for stepping in and giving CPR to two men, within the space of a few weeks, in very different but very stressful circumstances, using the skills she learned on a Red Cross first aid course.

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On one occasion, when she wasn't on duty, a neighbour had hanged himself - and without thinking she tried to revive him.

"Something inside you just clicks," Claire told the Journal. "You just do it, it comes naturally, you just don't think about it."

Claire is a Pilot Officer for the RAF Volunteer Reserve training branch and has trained 150 cadets in first aid skills.

Nominated by her mother, she was described as a 'good neighbour' and a community-spirited person and commits much of her free time to volunteering to help others.

"I didn't know I had been nominated. I don't regard what I do as anything special. It's just the right thing to do.

"But it was fantastic to get the award after it had sunk in."

She says it is very important for people to have skills that could save a life: "You don't know when you are going to need them.

"It just takes four days training and the amazing thing is by the end it you can save lives. It's important for the community to look out for each other."

Emma Johns, Red Cross Humanitarian Citizen Award co-ordinator, said: "Sometimes ordinary young people do extraordinary things.

"They may not wear masks or capes, but every day young heroes across the UK make a big effort to improve the lives of others.