Girl, six, who saved toddler sister's life from runaway car wins hero award
Meet Ramona Gibbs, a very brave six-year-old who saved her little sister's life by pushing her out of the way of an on-coming car, just seconds before she was mown down.
Ramona and her sister Trixie, three, were playing outside their home in Bristol when a car driven by an OAP hurtled down the pavement towards them. Seconds before it crashed into her little sister, Ramona bundled her out of the way - only to suffer life-threatening injuries herself.
It left Ramona painfully pinned between the runaway car and a parked Land Rover last July when it came to a standstill. But now, after making a full recovery, Ramona has been honoured with a Children and Young People's award for her courage by Avon and Somerset Police.
Ramona and Trixie, now aged seven and four, had been playing on their scooters outside their home when a 94-year-old driver attempted a manoeuvre in the road. But the elderly driver accidently stepped on the accelerator and mounted the pavement - hurtling towards the girls.
After pushing her sister out of the way, Ramona was pinned between the woman's vehicle and a parked Land Rover - before a neighbour pulled her out.
Incredibly, thanks to the heroics of Ramona, Trixie only suffered a bump on the head during the terrifying incident and was given the all-clear by doctors.
But Ramona was rushed to Bristol Children's Hospital and admitted to intensive care, suffering from liver and lung damage, a broken leg and rib, a bruised pelvis, a damaged knee and internal bleeding. She battled against her injuries for 16 days in hospital, before retuning home to her proud parents, Sally, 44, a primary school teacher, and Chris Gibbs, a 46-year-old jeweller.
She has since had to undergo five gruelling operations to help repair the damage, including plastic surgery on her knee, but now is back enjoying the hobbies she loves - tennis, trampolining and swimming.
Incredibly, her heroics only came to light when Trixie, not realising what her older sister was trying to do, complained: "Ramona pushed me".
"It's really amazing what Ramona did - it must have been pure instinct," says proud mum Sally. "If it was not for her, Trixie would have been killed. All the eye witnesses said that the car was heading straight for her.
"All of Ramona's injuries were abdominal, which would have been head height for Trixie. I can't even think about what might have happened if Ramona hadn't done what she did. Trixie remembers there was an accident and that Ramona was very badly hurt. She also remembers being pushed by Ramona which is the reason we know how it happened.
"I remember her saying that Ramona had pushed her. She was actually quite cross about it - she didn't realise that Ramona had done something that had saved her life!"
A total of 55 nominations were received for the third annual Children and Young People's awards. Seven winners, including Ramona, were presented with trophies, certificates and a donation from the Somerset Crime Beat Trust.
"All I can remember is the bit when I was in between the cars. I can't remember pushing Trixie out of the way," says hero of the hour, Ramona. "It is great to get this award. I can't wait to show all my friends."
"We are also proud of Ramona for being so stoic and calm throughout such a horrific ordeal. She was amazing," says Chris.
The car driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention and surrendered her licence, which the Gibbs believe highlights the need for compulsory re-testing of elderly drivers.
"They should reintroduce tests for elderly drivers just to make sure they still have the best reactions," says Sally. "I'm not saying a 94-year-old is not capable of driving, just that there should be checks in place to make sure."
What a brave little girl! Huge congratulations Ramona and good luck with the rest of your recovery.