A CHARITY that has taught more than 80,000 Oxfordshire children life-saving skills is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The Injury Minimization Programme for Schools (IMPS), based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, was launched in 1995 and works with Year Six pupils across the county teaching first-aid such as CPR, how to deal with burns, choking and using automated defibrillators.

IMPS project manager Lynn Pilgrim said: “We are thrilled that IMPS has reached this important milestone. Many of our IMPS pupils are now parents themselves and we hope that they are passing on the message of making safer choices to their own children.

“We are confident young people have been able to avoid serious injury and death because IMPS has empowered them to take responsibility for managing the risks they take. By equipping them with emergency life skills they are able to be good citizens by assisting in emergency situations.”

One student who put into practice the skills learned with IMPS when her mother had a fall at home was 13-year-old Nicole Faux.

The Marlborough School student was 10 years old and a pupil at West Kidlington Primary School when her mother tripped, fell onto a sewing needle and began to spasm.

Using the knowledge she learned with IMPS months before, Nicole calmed her mother down, made sure her arm was raised, talked the incident through with paramedics and alerted other members of her family.

She said: “On our school trip (to IMPS) we learnt about what to do if you cut yourself, or for falling over, to stop swelling in emergency situations.

My mum had the needle trapped in her hand so I knew to keep it elevated to stop swelling and to keep calm so things would not get worse.

“I think it is a really important trip to go on you learn a lot about how to deal with an emergency situation.

“It made me feel safer because if I went out with friends or something and there was an emergency and no adults, I would know what to do.”

The charity invited children from Wood Farm Primary School, supporters and friends to the JR last month, to celebrate the anniversary.

Guest of honour, deputy Lord Mayor Colin Cook, joined the children, aged 10 and 11, in a first aid lesson. and a celebratory lunch.

Memorabilia including photographs from the past 20 years were on show..

The programme was developed by trauma expert Prof Keith Willett after it was found accidents were the most common cause of death in young people.

He said: “IMPS has made a remarkable contribution to a whole generation and more of young people in Oxfordshire, teaching them both how to stay safe and know what to do when things do go wrong.

“The last two decades are defined by the enormous support of many individuals from our health and education services and the generosity of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust that has been our host.”

The charity, which is partially funded by public health and the county council, along with grants donations and fundraising, has been presented with a number of awards including a special certificate from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 2013 and was named Heart Safe Not-For-Profit Business of the Year in 2014.