I can almost hear the question marks in your mind as you read this.

What has saving a life got to do with smallholding, self-sufficiency, growing runner beans, milking goats, baby rabbits or any of the other topics of this blog?

So let me explain. One of the things I do in addition to trying to be self-sufficient, growing our own veg, milking our own goats, etc is to provide life-saving cover for the local school’s swimming classes and, when needed, to help teach swimming as well.

Living on an island, I am very aware of the importance of children learning to swim and knowing how to keep themselves safe around water, so I believe that the swimming lessons are an important part of their education.

Life saving, first aid and CPR is a funny skill to learn. You learn it as thoroughly as you can all the while hoping that you will never have to use it. And the really strange part is that, at it’s most basic, it is not a difficult skill to learn. Now, no-one is going to suggest that you do a weekend course and come away an A and E consultant, but even a young child can learn how to check and open a person’s airway and put them in the recovery position and just those simple actions could save a person’s life. Add in CPR and you increase your casualty’s chances of lasting until the ambulance arrives even further.

Now before you protest that you couldn’t possibly learn all those things, I should tell you that the apprentice first learned CPR when she was six. Since then she has had top-ups at school learning how to cope with choking and revisiting the recovery position and other things. When we swim together, I have taught her how to handle a casualty in the water – would she be able to rescue a 16 stone man? No! Would she be able to keep another child afloat until I or another adult reached them? Yes!

The RLSS “save a baby’s life” campaign figures show that 4 out of 5 people wouldn’t know what to do if a child stopped breathing whilst other RLSS figures estimate that 9 out of 10 people wouldn’t know what to do in an emergency.

Let’s put that another way – if you are in a room with 8 other people and one of you collapses or has a heart attack, there is a good chance that no-one in the room will know what to do. When your child goes to play with friends – four out of five of those parents won’t know what to do if your child has a serious accident.

The RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society) runs courses ranging from “Beach lifeguard” and “pool lifeguard” for professional lifeguards, all the way down through the lifesaving awards, to the “save a baby’s life” course for parents and childminders covering CPR, choking etc in babies and toddlers.

The RLSS also have a youth section called Rookie Lifeguards whch aims to educate children both in personal water safety and lifesaving techniques.

So make a difference today, join the RLSS, or donate to help provide much needed funds or, even better, take a lifesaving course and save someone’s life.

Could you save a life?