Brave Brownie Poppy is a Guiding Star

Poppy, 8, received our Guiding Star award for showing courage and initiative in an emergency. Read her story.

Poppy's story

8-year-old Poppy is a lively member of 13th Hastings Brownies. She loves dancing and showing her fellow Brownies her latest moves.

When Poppy was 7 she was spending the day alone with her father James, when he suddenly collapsed at his home.

Poppy found him unconscious after hearing a loud noise. Knowing that she needed to call for help as soon as possible, she was able to work out how to use his locked mobile to dial 999. She stayed calm on the phone and was able to direct emergency services to her father’s address. After treatment from the paramedics, James was taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings. It became clear the 45-year-old former police officer had suffered a brain aneurysm.

Despite the best efforts of the medical staff he sadly passed away the following day. As Poppy’s prompt actions had resulted in the ambulance arriving quickly, it meant that James’ family had the opportunity to say goodbye.

Recognising courage and quick thinking

When Kevin Hamer, Girlguiding East Sussex PR adviser, heard about Poppy's actions, he nominated her for the Guiding Star award. The award is given to Girlguiding members under 26 who have displayed exceptional courage or shown great initiative during an incident.

Kevin says 'Poppy’s story first came to my attention when I saw her photo on the front of the Hastings & St Leonards Observer. I immediately started the process of nominating Poppy for the Guiding Star award. When I contacted Ruth (Poppy’s mother) to tell her the good news that Poppy was to receive the Guiding Star she was overwhelmed and very surprised.'

Poppy is a very brave young lady and her father would be very proud of her actions that day. Poppy is an inspiration to Girlguiding and has created a lasting legacy. - Kevin

Poppy recieved her award at a ceremony attended by her family and a host of local and guiding representatives - from the Mayor of Hastings to Girlguiding Sussex East County Patron Sara Stoner. Sally Christmas, Girlguiding Regional Commissioner for LaSER, was there to present Poppy with her Guiding Star award and certificate.

They were all joined by Poppy's friends from 13th Hastings Brownies. Her unit leader says 'The 13th Hastings Brownies are all so proud of her, and feel privileged that she is one of our Brownies, she is so reliable in everything she does and an inspiration to all other girls and leaders. 'Well done' is so inadequate to us, but we all know she will always take life in her small steps and inspire others on her journey.'

The Guiding Star isn't the only award that Poppy's been recognised with. Her brave actions have also been recognised with a public commendation award from South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Poppy’s journey from Rainbows to Guiding Star

At the age of five, Poppy’s journey in Girlguiding started by joining the 13th Hastings Rainbows. Her leader says 'She was an enthusiastic member who took it in her stride and became a popular and helpful Rainbow. 

'Reaching the age of seven it was time for Poppy to move on to the 13th Hastings Brownies, continuing to be a lively and active member and is always willing to help and assist others, especially new girls coming into the unit. Outside of Brownies, dancing is her big ambition and Poppy is always showing us her ballet and modern dance moves and also the 'latest moves' to her favourite songs.'

Tell us your story

Do you know a young guiding member who you'd like to celebrate? Share your story with us at [email protected] and we might feature it on our website.