Hartlepool shopping centre staff save toddler's life after he choked on a piece of fruit in Greggs cafe

The family of a Hartlepool toddler have thanked quick-thinking shopping centre staff for saving their little boy’s life when he started choking.

By Mark Payne
Thursday, 08 August, 2019, 06:00
Staff from Greggs and Middleton Grange shopping centre, Hartlepool, who went to the aid of 15-month-old Rex Crosby, who was choking. Rex is pictured with grandmother Christine Adams and from left to right Kay Trundley of Greggs, Steve Dawking, Paul Foster and Luke Walker.

Fifteen-month-old Rex Crosby got a small piece of fruit, which had been cut up, lodged in his throat when he was enjoying a snack with his grandmother Christine Adams in Middleton Grange shopping centre’s Greggs cafe.

She started to panic when he struggled to breathe. But security officers Paul Foster, Steve Dawking and Luke Walker were quickly on the scene and gave Rex first aid which Christine says saved his life.

They managed to dislodge the fruit by patting him on the back.

15-month-old Rex Crosby is reunited with people who saved his life when he was choking. Rex with grandmother Christine Adams and (left-right) Steve Dawking, Kay Trundley of Greggs, Paul Foster and Luke Walker.

Christine said: “He loves his fruit pots but I knew something was not right. I went to the counter and said ‘I think the bairn’s choking’.

“He was screaming and choking. I was hitting him on the back. Then the security men flew in and did the same but nothing was happening.

“I was thinking ‘oh my God.’ Bits of muck started coming out of his nose and we sat him back up but he started pointing to his throat again.

“I thought ‘it hasn’t gone’ and started to panic.”

Security supervisor Paul Foster got the call and dispatched Steve and Luke.

Luke, who was first on the scene, said: “I ran straight in as quickly as I could. I picked the bairn up, tipped him over and tried to dislodge the piece of fruit.

“Then Steve came running in and took over.”

Luckily, while Steve was patting Rex on the back, he swallowed the remainder of the stuck food.

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Luke added: “With an infant it is quite scary but we managed to get it dislodged thank God.”

Chritine praised their actions saying: “They were brilliant. It was just so scary.

“I just want to thank them. They saved his life.”

And Rex’s grateful mum Leanne Adams, 36, who was not there at the time, added: “I just want to say a massive thank you from me.”

After his ordeal, Rex went to Hartlepool hospital’s urgent care unit where he was checked over.

Within hours he was eating again and back to his normal self.

Christine also thanked Greggs staff for their help and in closing the cafe during the emergency which happened on July 12.

Greggs supervisor Kay Trundley said: “I’m just glad he’s OK. The guys were like action men, they were there in seconds.”

Paul said staff regularly undergo first aid and choking training to help them deal with such scenarios.

He said: “Although incidents like this are few and far between we have dealt with quite a few serious choking incidents.”

Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft also praised their actions.

He said: “I’m extremely proud of the way they dealt with the incident and of their composure throughout.”