A FATHER from Haydon Bridge has told of his horror after his young daughter was left struggling to breathe for almost 20 minutes after choking on a sweet.

Following a family shopping trip to the MetroCentre, six-year-old Lilly Bird, who attends Shaftoe Academy Trust in Haydon Bridge, was enjoying a bag of sweets in the back of her parent’s car when she started choking.

Dad Steven said: “It was just horrible. I stopped in the middle of the road, jumped out of the car and started doing back slaps.

“My partner is a carer so she’s first aid trained, but all of that just went out the window because it was her daughter.

“Because we’d stopped in the middle of the road, traffic started to build up behind us. One girl who was first aid trained came and helped me do back slaps to try and get the sweet out.

“By that time Lilly had stopped breathing, she’d passed out and her face and arms were going blue.

“A former lifeguard also got out the car and said to elevate her and turn her upside down, and I think that saved her life because she got some colour back into her cheeks.”

An ambulance arrived on the scene minutes after Lilly began choking, whisking her and mum, Becky Elliott, to hospital.

Police drove Steven and Lilly’s younger brother Ronnie to the RVI, where paramedics said they were taking Lilly.

However, when they arrived she was nowhere to be seen.

Steven explained: “The police took us to the RVI because I was in no state to drive, but the paramedics decided on route to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead because it was quicker.

“I didn’t have my phone, so I had 30 minutes or so of just not knowing whether Lilly was alive or not.

“When we got to the QE, I was informed that she had coughed the sweet up and started breathing on her own. The doctors said she’s a miracle.”

Steven, who is now looking for first aid courses in case something like this ever happens again, paid tribute to first aiders Karlie Batey and Laura Renwick, who helped at the road, as well as other motorists who stopped to help.

“There must have been 30 or 40 people who stopped,” Steven added.

“I’d like to thank all the members of the public who helped, I want to thank everyone who was there.

“If this had happened anywhere else, I think we would have lost her.”