A LITTLE girl was hailed a heroine after she calmly called an ambulance as her father fought for breath.

Five-year-old Alexandria Hodgson kept a cool head when father Malcolm suffered a panic attack at their home at Marshall Drive, Brotton.

With nobody else in the house, she dialled 999 and explained the situation to an ambulance worker. A team of paramedics arrived just after the call was received at around 8pm on Monday.

Mr Hodgson, 57, recovered quickly and was later examined by a doctor, although he did not need hospital treatment.

The housing officer, who is currently on sick leave for anxiety, said: "My wife and son had gone out and I should have been putting Alex to bed when I found I couldn't breathe properly. She was obviously worried.

"The next thing I knew she was standing next to me with the phone dialling 999," he said. "She was a little gem - I don't know how I would have finished up if the paramedics hadn't come."

Mr Hodgson said that far from boasting about her achievement, Alexandria is "taking the whole thing in her stride."

Ambulance service spokesman Nigel Metcalf said: "For one so young, she was quite brilliant. She must have been very upset but she managed to provide our control with full details of her address."