Joanne and Dan Thompson suffered the loss of their 9 month old daughter, Millie, back in 2012 when she choked on mashed potato while on her third day at nursery.
Following their tragic loss, the pair set out to make sure no parents ever have to suffer as they did. Pushing for better paediatric first training in childcare settings, Millie’s Trust was born. Now, 3 years on, they are being recognised at the Pride of Britain Awards.
Dan received a phone call, saying Millie had been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties, whilst he was working 150 miles away. He immediately rang Joanne, who had just returned to work, and she rushed straight to the hospital.
Joanne says: “At that point we did not know how serious it was because no one had said anything,”
Joanne was then led into a room where she saw a 9 month old baby was no longer with them; she said: “No one had told me. There were about 15 or 20 people stood around Millie – they were just silent.”
“Within seconds, our lives changed,” she says. “The guilt of putting her in that nursery was immense. For a long time we blamed ourselves.”
After her death, they suffered from depression and Joanne was treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the months following this, they were asked if they wanted donations made to a charity, and it was then that they realised only first aid could have saved her. So Millie’s Trust was born.
The trust was born with 2 aims, to train new parents and nursery staff in paediatric first aid and to change the law regarding first aid in childcare settings. And so far, they have had great success.
“The ambulance that went to Millie had no paediatric first aid kit,” said Joanne.
“There’s now a 43-piece kit that has to be carried on every ambulance because of Millie.”
“When Millie died, nurseries only had to provide one person per building who was paediatric first aid trained.
“We set up a petition to get the law changed. In 10 months, we got 100,000 signatures and it was debated in parliament.”
As a result of their efforts, everyone who studies childcare must do a paediatric first aid course. The couple now dedicate all of their time to the trust and are fully qualified first aid instructors.
Joanne says: “We have 18 trainers on the books and we have had hundreds of nursery nurses trained by us.”
2016 will also see Millie’s Mark – a logo showing that a nursery’s staff have been trained in paediatric first aid. “It will be an amazing moment. We have gone a lot further than we ever thought we would,” says Joanne.
Watch the Pride of Britain Awards this Thursday at 8pm on ITV.