'I prepared myself for the worst'

Mum Rachel Boulton with son Charlie, who is lucky to be alive.

The air ambulance landed at Comberbach Primary School to airlift Charlie to hospital.

Mary Woodcock, eight, Jonathan Corley, eight, Charlie Boulton, seven, and Jacob Shaw, seven, helping sell cakes to raise money for the air ambulance

First published in News Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A BREAKTIME snack led to a dramatic helicopter rescue and near tragedy for a Northwich schoolboy.

Rachel Boulton said she prepared for the worst when her seven-year-old son Charlie ate a cereal bar and suffered a severe allergic reaction at his school in Comberbach.

She said if it was not for the work of the North West Air Ambulance, the Barnton youngster would not be here today.

“If we had waited for the road ambulance he would have gone into anaphylactic shock in the school reception and there would have been nothing that we could have done,” she said.

“It would have been a different story – thank god for that helicoper ride because it saved his life.”

Rachel knew Charlie suffered from a peanut allergy and when he asked for a new type of cereal bar for his mid-morning snack she checked the packet carefully, as always, before putting it in the shopping trolley.

When he asked for the chocolate version instead, she did not think to check if there were any other differences in the recipe.

But the chocolate version contained six per cent peanuts, and Charlie developed a rash and a sore throat when he ate it during morning break.

Staff at Comberbach Primary School, where Rachel runs the before and after school club, gave him allergy medicine and rang Rachel, who came to school immediately.

At that point Charlie’s symptoms were fading but when she realised that he had eaten peanuts she said they needed to ring for an ambulance.

She was astounded when the air ambulance landed in the school field while they were waiting.

“I thought ‘this is a bit silly and I hate flying and have never been in a helicopter’, but Charlie was grinning like a Cheshire cat thinking it was great,” Rachel said.

When they arrived at Wythenshawe Hospital minutes later, Charlie was fine to walk from the helicopter to the treatment room.

But then things took an unexpected turn for the worse.

“He doubled over in absolute agony, he couldn’t even speak he was in that much pain,” Rachel said.

“Then he was going head to toe in what was like a nettle rash before my eyes, it was taking over his body.

“There were eight doctors in the room and they gave him more adrenaline, steroids and antihistamine but his eyes were rolling back and it was just awful.

“You try so hard to think positively but I was preparing myself for the worst.”

Doctors said they had done all they could and all anyone could do was hope that the medicine got around his system quickly enough.

But 30 minutes later, when it looked like the youngster was recovering, the rash started again and Rachel said his skin was blistering so much it looked like he had been in a fire.

Fortunately more antihistamine took effect and after a night’s stay in hospital, Charlie was allowed home.

The brave youngster then went back to school the next day, followed soon after by his mum who brought bouquets of flowers for the staff who helped save his life.

The school is now on a fundraising mission for the North West Air Ambulance Service.

Rachel, whose four-year-old son Oliver also goes to the school, said “They’re such an amazing charity.

“I was so naive I just thought they were flying round, waiting for emergencies.

“I never thought that it costs thousands of pounds every time it goes up and it has no Government funding.”

The school held a cake sale on Monday and is planning a toy sale, open to the public, at 3pm on Friday, December 7.

Anyone who wants to donate toys for the sale should drop them off at the school, in Mather Drive.

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