Northern Ireland

East Belfast children Jake and Ruby Funston save dad after wasp sting

Media captionJake and Ruby Funston, pictured with Gilnahirk Primary School headmaster Stephen Harrison, explain how they saved their father

Two Belfast children have been praised for helping to save their father who went into anaphylactic shock while driving after being stung by a wasp.

Nine-year-old Ruby Funston and her brother Jake, six, managed to flag down another motorist after their father John collapsed in east Belfast.

The woman driver had no phone, so the children entered the pass code on their father's mobile so it could be used.

The woman phoned an ambulance and Mr Funston was taken to hospital.

Mr Funston, who was struggling to breathe, was given adrenaline shots and kept in overnight.

The incident happened last Friday after he had collected the children from Gilnahirk Primary School.

As Mr Funston answered a phone call, the children searched for conkers in nearby trees, disturbing a wasps' nest.

Mr Funston was stung while swatting wasps away from his son.

'We thought he was joking'

Ruby explained what happened as they drove away: "We were driving down the road and were just going down Cabin Hill Gardens just near the house when dad... suddenly he was kind of speaking funny and he just didn't sound right.

"He kind of collapsed, fainted."

He brother Jake added: "We thought he was joking.

"We waved and shouted for help and we flagged down a lady and took our dad's phone and did the pass code, because the lady didn't have a phone.

"The lady phoned 999 and an ambulance and a fancy BMW [police car] came and they told us what was wrong with dad."

Mr Funston said he had been stung by wasps several times before but had never suffered such a reaction.

He said after he was stung on Friday "I got into the car and I distinctly started to feel rather unwell.

"I travelled for a couple of miles and then my body decided to basically put me to sleep.

"After that, my clever children waved people down on the Upper Newtownards Road down and a lovely lady stopped and dialled 999 and all I remember is waking up with a couple of needles in my arm."

Stephen Harrison, the headmaster of Gilnahirk Primary School, said they were very proud of Ruby and Jake.

"We're absolutely delighted there's been a safe recovery for dad, glad that mum wasn't too worried, but we're remarkably proud of these two children who've shown great presence of mind," he said.

"We had the children up in assembly on Monday morning, made a huge fuss of them."

Image caption The children disturbed a wasps' nest while searching for conkers

While Jake was also stung several times during the incident, Ruby was unscathed.

Her brother had his one theory of why that was the case: "I think her red hair's the princess of wasps."

However, Ruby had a more rational explanation: "I just think I didn't get stung because I stayed safe in the car, away from the wasps."

More on this story

Around the BBC