“The quick-thinking security guard who saved the life of a little girl choking on pasta has humbly insisted that he was merely acting on instinct.

Declan Kirk and colleagues rushed to the aid of the lifeless 18-month-old when they spotted her frantic father running through County Mall. Mr Kirk, a security officer at Boots, ran after the distressed man and his daughter who was struggling to breathe.

Using his six years’ worth of first aid skills he learnt as an Army Cadet, the 20-year-old managed to dislodge the food which the toddler had been choking on.

Speaking to the Crawley News, he explained that he was happy to be in the right place at the right time for what must have been the “scariest” situation for a parent.

Mr Kirk, who has only been working at the store for seven weeks, said: “I saw a male running down the escalator holding a young girl. At first I was concerned for the girl’s safety, the thought crossed my mind that it could be a kidnap situation.

“We made chase as the man quickly ran out of County Mall. We are told to catch up with someone rather than shout after them because we don’t want to cause a scene or anymore concern for anyone else in the area.”

Mr Kirk and one of his colleagues, Michael Senior, caught up with the dad outside Saxonbrook Medical Centre in Haslett Avenue West. They realised it was in fact a medical emergency.

Mr Kirk added: “The girl was like a rag doll and her eyes had rolled all the way to the back of her head. It was quite clear that she was in a very bad way.

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