A FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD schoolboy has been hailed a “hero” after saving the life of a girl at his school.

Islwyn High School pupil Rhys Price was on the bus home from school when he saw that 11-year-old Imogen Adams was choking.

Imogen, from Newbridge, had been eating a ‘strawberry pencil’ sweet when she started to have trouble breathing.

Fortunately, Rhys - who learnt his vital first aid skills with St John Cymru Wales - was on hand, and encouraged her to try and cough. When that didn’t work he hit her between the shoulder blades with the heel of his hand several times in an attempt to force the sweet out.

When this also failed he moved Imogen off the stopped bus and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre.

The life saving skill dislodged the sweet from Imogen's throat, but the schoolgirl was distressed and emotional and struggled to get her breathing back under control.

It was then that Rhys called an ambulance from his mobile.

Imogen’s mother Krystal Burgess said: "This could have been very different had it not been for Rhys. I can’t think him enough for what he did.”

The pupils returned to school the next day, and it wasn’t long before the news of Rhys’ heroic act spread.

Ben Watkins, deputy head of Rhys’ year said: “Rhys didn’t tell anyone at school about happened. It was the head teacher who told us about what he did, so I have been telling all the classes about it. He’s a hero."

“I embarrassed him all day on Friday. Every classroom he walked into I made them clap for him.

“I’ve shook his hand about three times and I want people to know what he has done.

“Everyone is appreciative of what he did.

“For him to be so mature when Imogen was choking and to use his skills like that is so amazing.”

Rhys, who lives in Cross Keys said that while people on the bus offered advice on what to do, nobody knew how to deal with someone choking.

He said: “I go to St John’s Cadets so I knew what I needed to do, although I did have to get my head around what was happening.

“I was surprised that people on the bus didn’t know what to do.

“I would encourage more people to join St John Cymru and learn first aid.”

Imogen said she will now be joining the cadets to learn the lifesaving skills Rhys used.

Director of youth at St John Cymru Wales, Sy Joshua, said: “We’re extremely proud of Rhys and his quick-thinking actions that helped to save Imogen’s life.

“This just proves how vital first aid skills can be in everyday situations.

“At 14, Rhys is a great example of how you’re never too young to learn what to do in an emergency.

“He was able to put the skills he learns with us each week into practice.

“We’re delighted that Imogen is doing well and that Rhys’ actions have inspired her to join her local St John Cymru Wales division.

“We’re always looking to train the next generation of lifesavers.”