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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 13:16 GMT
Schoolboy commended after tsunami
Phanjohn with his father
Phanjohn and his father helped patients and staff at the hospital
An 11-year-old boy from Kent has been honoured by the Mayor of Gravesham for the part he played in helping victims of the Asian tsunami in Thailand.

Phanjohn O'Neill, of Vale Road, Gravesend, is half Thai and speaks the language. He was in the country with his family when the disaster struck.

The youngster spent four days at a hospital near Phuket translating the needs of Western patients to staff.

His father Alan helped prepare the patients for surgery.

Phanjohn at the hospital
Phanjohn's translation skills were a big help to the doctors
Mr O'Neill said his son did the right thing given the situation the family had found themselves in.

"When you're placed into a situation you've got two choices - you can back off or you can get stuck in.

"I have no buts or ifs - we did the right thing, and I commend Phanjohn 100%," he said.

Phanjohn, who attends Northfleet Technology College, said: "We had to keep calm."

He was presented with a certificate by the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr John Loughlin, on Monday honouring his bravery in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster.

He was also presented with some gift vouchers at the event, held in the Mayor's Parlour and attended by his parents and head teacher.

A spokeswoman for Gravesham Borough Council said the award was made "on behalf of the people of Gravesend".

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