TWO quick-thinking youngsters were today hailed heroes after saving a cyclist who was knocked unconscious in a fall at a disused quarry.
Mathew Gardner, nine, and Stephen Devlin, 10, were riding through Fulwell Quarry Local Nature Reserve with Stephen’s dad Steve when he lost control of his bike and plummeted down a steep hill.
The 38-year-old, from Marley Pots, was thrown from the saddle and crashed into a rock, suffering life-threatening head injuries.
Rushing to help the dad-of-four, the schoolboys quickly put him into the recovery position after failing to rouse him.
While Mathew stayed with the casualty and shouted for help at the isolated spot, Stephen raced through the quarry to get assistance after realising his dad’s mobile phone had been smashed.
“They were both amazing,” said Stephen’s mum Christine, 35.
“The doctors said his condition could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for their actions.
“He was injured very badly, but he was alive.
“Without them, he might not have been so lucky.”
As Stephen reached a housing estate and raised the alarm, Mathew managed to alert a passerby and she contacted the emergency services on her mobile phone.
After a doctor-paramedic crew gave emergency treatment to him at the scene, Steve, who was not wearing a helmet, was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, in a “critical condition”. “By chance, there was a woman picking blackberries in the quarry and she called for an ambulance,” said Christine.
“When I got to the scene they were taking him away. They were there very quickly.
“It was just a freak accident. They were out for a quiet ride, nothing more than that. They were not mountain biking or racing each other.”
Following the accident earlier this month, Steve is now back at home and on the road to recovery.
However, he faces months of treatment for a fractured jaw, cheek and eye socket.
“The doctors say he will have to have reconstructive surgery once the swelling on his face goes down,” said Christine.
“At the minute, his jaw is wired and he is still in a lot of pain. It will take months for him to recover.”
Modest Mathew and Stephen, who both attend Southwick Primary School, today played down their actions and insisted they just “did what needed to be done”.
“We were a bit frightened, but we were just glad my dad was okay,” said Stephen.
Mathew, also from Marley Pots, said: “My dad is epileptic, so I learned how to do the recovery position when I was younger.
“We just did what needed to be done.”
Stephen’s dad added: “They are both heroes.”