TINY tots from St Mary’s Pre-School in Worksop were treated to a flying visit from the air ambulance.
The Notts and Lincs Air Ambulance helicopter descended on the pitch at Worksop Rugby Club, on Stubbing Lane, as the youngsters squealed with excitement.
It was all organised by Worksop mum Karen Davis whose three-year-old son Ryan goes to the nursery.
Ryan suffers from a severe anaphylactic wheat allergy, meaning he has to be extra careful what he eats and plays with.
Even resources like play dough, pasta, flour and cereal could pose life-threatening danger.
But the staff at St Mary’s have adapted and done training to make sure he is cared for and safe, and feels just like any of his class mates.
“I wanted to do this to recognise the excellent staff of St Mary’s Pre-School and all the help they have given Ryan,” said Karen, of Laburnum Close.
“St Mary’s has become the place where he can be fully Ryan, and that means everything.”
Karen presented a special Guardian Rose to all the pre-school staff, to thank them for their care and dedication.
“I just wanted to do a little something for you all because of how brilliant you have been with Ryan,” said Karen.
“I was extremely nervous about him beginning pre-school, as I found it impossible to find a play setting which would accept Ryan, due to a severe lack of training in the area.”
“The only way he could have taken one of these places would have been if he was watched by one individual - reinforcing his differences rather than all the fantastic ways he could bond with others.”
But then Karen spoke to nursery manager Claire Lacey at St Mary’s, where her second son had already been looked after.
“I was overwhelmed by her response as she reassured me that St Mary’s would do everything required to ensure Ryan had a safe and fulfilling play setting where he would be treated as an exact equal,” she said.
Since turning two and starting at St Mary’s, Ryan has settled in nicely. And nursery staff have even completed a course on the life-saving epi-pen procedure, a process which involves much responsibility and could save Ryan if he goes into shock.
Claire said: “Ryan is the first child we’ve had here with a wheat allergy, as it’s quite rare.”
“We have adapted a lot of our play resources so he’s safe. And all but one of the staff have had epi-pen training. If anything happened we would first give Ryan antihistamines. The epi-pen is only used in an absolute emergency.”
In the moments before touch down, the children had been working on colouring sheets about the air ambulance service.
And as the helicopter landed they all clapped and cheered. Each child had a look inside and even tried on the pilot’s hat.
Air ambulance paramedic Dave Hunter said they had just come from their base at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
It had taken 15 minutes to fly to Worksop. In an emergency the helicopter can get from Worksop to Sheffield within 10 minutes, or Nottingham in 12 minutes.
“We enjoy the education side of things,” he said. “We go to galas and shows throughout the year so people can see the aircraft and learn about what we do.”
Bassetlaw MP John Mann attended to present the staff with their epi-pen training certificates, and said he was very impressed with their professionalism.
“What you have done in caring for Ryan in the way you have and allowing him to participate like everyone else is brilliant,” he said.
“Why should Ryan or any other child be excluded? They have bothered to make the effort and it is an example to other schools.”