Irish Maeve saves drowning toddler

Irish nanny Maeve McLoughlin saved the life of Bridie Woolcock in 2010, and has now received an Australian bravery award.
Irish nanny Maeve McLoughlin saved the life of Bridie Woolcock in 2010, and has now received an Australian bravery award.

SPRINGSURE couple Jenny and Richard Woolcock are ecstatic their former nanny Maeve McLoughlin will receive a Commendation for Brave Conduct for saving the life of their youngest daughter, Bridie.

Maeve, from Belfast in Ireland, was working as a nanny for the Woolcocks on the family's cattle property in 2010 when she rescued the toddler from drowning in a dam.

Jenny said she and her husband Richard nominated Maeve for the award for her heroic rescue, and were pleased to hear she would be honoured.

"I think we were just hoping and praying because we felt she really deserved it," Jenny said.

"Everyone that's nominated deserves it, but this was a miracle rescue - not many two year olds survive (that)."

The family, which still keeps in close contact with Maeve after she moved back to Ireland, said she was stoked when they contacted her with the news.

"Maeve was so humbled by it all," Jenny said.

"She'll be quite the celebrity over there now.

"It's so deserved though."

On an early Saturday morning in September, 2010, Maeve was working as a nanny for the Woolcock family when she saved the life of their youngest daughter, Bridie, then two years old, after she had fallen into a swollen creek on the family's property 32km from Springsure.

Maeve, who was busy hanging washing on the clothesline, heard two of the Woolcock's other children - Hastings, then 5, and Bella, then 3 - screaming out that Bridie had fallen in to the water.

Maeve quickly told the Woolcock's eldest daughter, Ally, then 10, to call triple zero before rushing to the creek, jumping into the water and searching for the missing toddler.

Unable to find Bridie, Maeve ran along the side of the creek barefoot among long grass, jumping over two fences before she caught a glimpse of Bridie's bottom bobbing up from the water about a kilometre down the creek.

Bridie had been in the water for about 20 minutes before Maeve pulled her unconscious but breathing body back to the house and followed instructions from emergency services to revive her.

After a panicking few hours, the Woolcocks, Maeve and families from neighbouring properties were relieved when the toddler was transported for further care.

The toddler was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane where she started her recovery.

Bridie, who turns four in July this year, is as vibrant as ever following the near-death experience and her parents said they would be forever grateful to Maeve.

"There's not a day that goes by that we don't thank God and Maeve for bringing our little girl back," Jenny said.

"When we show Bridie a photo of Maeve, she says, 'Maeve saved me'."

"It wasn't her time to go."

Maeve will be honoured at an investiture ceremony to be held later in the year.

Jenny said the family would do everything possible to attend the ceremony.

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