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Acts of kindness, determination and courage receive Royal Humane Society recognition.
Congratulations to all the police officers, staff and members of the public who have been recognised by the Royal Humane Society for their life-saving actions.
Chief Constable Lisa Winward hosted a ceremony on 12 April to honour the recipients and present them with their certificates. She was joined by special guest, Clare Granger, the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.
Chief Constable Winward said:
“It was an absolute privilege and very humbling to present the awards on behalf of the Royal Humane Society. The courageous actions of the recipients are an inspiration to us all, and I was proud to be able to honour them in this way. They acted quickly and decisively without thought for themselves in some harrowing, difficult and tragic situations. They should be extremely proud of their actions.”
Police officers put themselves at risk to save man’s life on 25-metre-high railway viaduct in Knaresborough on 15 May 2022.
PCSO Denise Booth and PC Stephanie Maslen responded to an incident involving a man who was laid on the railway tracks at Knaresborough Viaduct, over the river Nidd.
When officers arrived the railway track was live, with trains approaching at high speed there was a real danger of death to anybody on the tracks.
Despite this both PCSOs exposed themselves to this danger, going onto the viaduct to bring the man to safety.
He was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital.
Colne man Brian Dickinson demonstrates determination in his efforts to locate and resuscitate a man who got into difficulties in the River Wharfe, at Grassington, in July 2021.
It was a hot summer’s day which had attracted many people to the riverbank.
When a man, who’d jumped from a tree into the river, got into difficulties and failed to resurface, his friends dived underwater to help him but were unable to find him.
When Brian, who was at the riverbank with his family, heard people shouting and screaming he entered the water fully clothed to try and locate the man in difficulties, swimming deep under the water. He also advised the man’s friends to leave the water for their own safety.
Brian searched in the river for around 45 minutes before he was able to locate the man. He was passed a large extendable hook by the fire brigade, which he used to bring him up to the surface before swimming across the river with him to meet the fire crew.
Brian assisted in CPR until the ambulance arrived but sadly, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two police officers demonstrate exceptional courage in saving the life of a distressed woman on the Harrogate railway bridge on 16 April 2022.
Police received a report of a woman on the wrong side of the railway bridge in Harrogate. When PCSO Nicola Shearing arrived at the scene she found a distressed woman. Believing she was about to jump from the bridge, she held tightly onto her, stopping her from falling onto the train track below in front of an oncoming train.
PCSO Shearing, who is of small stature, showed incredible strength and determination in keeping hold of the woman who was struggling to break free. With help from a member of the public she continued to keep the woman safe and radioed for immediate assistance.
When PC Joshua Snaith arrived, he risked his own life by climbing out onto the bridge ledge in order to lift the woman back onto the right side of the bridge. Whilst this was happening trains were still using the track below.
Both PC Snaith and PCSO Shearing demonstrated exceptional care in dealing with this very distressed woman, carefully explaining why and what they were doing, and trying to minimise the use of force.
PCSO Shearing has been awarded the ‘Honorary Testimonial of the Society’ inscribed on Parchment and PC Snaith the ‘Honorary Testimonial of the Society inscribed on Vellum’ for the exceptional courage shown during this incident which saved this woman’s life and ensured she got the appropriate Mental Health support.
On a dark and cold night in December 2021, a car left the road following a serious road collision at Sherburn-In-Elmet.
It then travelled down an embankment, flipping over and becoming submerged, upside down, in a dike filled with around four feet of water.
Ian Leeder, Karen Leeder and Rebecca Leeder, who live near to where the incident occurred, were alerted to what had happened by friends of those involved, who had been in another car.
They immediately left their house to give aid to those in the submerged car. Ian, returning home to get his pickup truck, was then able to pull the submerged vehicle out of the dirty water, most likely saving the driver’s life.
They then attempted to free the two men trapped inside the car.
Sergeant Hanneke Hart was the first member of the emergency services to arrive at the scene. She immediately entered the freezing water and, with help from other members of the public and the Leeder family, made extensive efforts to enter to the vehicle in order to free the trapped occupants.
Throughout these efforts she remained calm, talking to and reassuring one of the trapped men inside. When Fire and Rescue Services arrived, they were able to free the trapped men, with one surviving but the second sadly dying at the scene.
Karen and Rebecca also helped those from the second vehicle involved, with Rebecca providing first aid to the driver when he was eventually extracted from the vehicle.
Ian, Karen and Rebecca Leeder along with PS Hart put themselves into a cold, wet, dangerous and vulnerable position to try to help others. The Leeder family continued to offer this assistance even after PS Hart and other emergency services arrived, supporting them in their attempts to resuscitate the man who sadly died at the scene.
15-year-old Dylan Suttle was also presented with a ‘Testimonial of the Society inscribed on Parchment’ for his part in the incident. Hearing banging on the back door, he looked out of the window and found a man shouting for him to get help.
Dylan woke his mother, who spoke to the man and contacted the police.
At this point they were joined by their neighbours, the Leeder family, who had been alerted by the shouting.
Dylan ran to the garage and, taking out two large metal crowbars, ran to the overturned car with the friend of the occupants and the Leeder family.
In near freezing temperatures, Dylan, with no shoes on, got into the dike with the friend where they both tried to lift the car. They only stopped when Mr Leeder used his vehicle to drag the car partially out of the water, thus saving one of the two occupants from drowning.
Dylan then tried to comfort the friend, who was very cold and upset, by hugging him and telling him everything would be OK, and that they had done their best.
At this stage both police and fire officers had arrived, and prior to the body of the deceased man being removed from the vehicle, Dylan was taken back home.
Thanks to Dylan’s selfless actions one of the men in the vehicle survived this terrible accident.
North Yorkshire Police Investigators Simon Dixon and Robert Oliver have been nominated for the ‘Praiseworthy category’ for saving the life of a York assault victim on 11 Jun 2022.
The victim had been violently assaulted outside a bar in the city centre, but following the attack, returned to his York home without medical treatment.
The following morning, Dixon and Oliver visited his home where they found him lying on the sofa very unwell, having vomited profusely.
On assessing his injuries, they noticed fluid coming from his nose, a sign of a potentially life-threatening brain injury. As no ambulances were available, they took him to hospital in their own vehicle where it was discovered he had a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain.
Medics stated that without their swift and decisive action the man may have died. Both officers have received Certificates of Commendation.
The quick-thinking actions of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) Matthew Mason and Ben Nicholson on the evening of Tuesday 19 January, saved the life of a York woman.
Responding to a call out concerned for the safety of a York woman, they discovered her hanging from a ligature on the bathroom door.
Despite being unconscious she was still alive but struggling to breathe and showing physical signs of asphyxiation. They acted quickly, taking her down from the door, removing the ligature and providing her with immediate first aid before the ambulance arrived.
Thanks to their speedy actions she has now made a full recovery.
PC Connor Dunn and PC Summer Barnes, both still in their initial training since joining North Yorkshire Police seven weeks earlier, were travelling together whilst off-duty when they came across a road traffic collision on 15 June 2022.
The accident, on the busy A19 in Stokesley, was between a car and a motorcycle.
Stopping to assist and secure the scene they quickly discovered that the rider was unconscious and had stopped breathing. They commenced CPR until medical professionals could arrive around 30 minutes later.
Sadly, despite the efforts of officers and ambulance staff the rider died at the scene.
Police officers PC Matthew Roebuck, PC Andrew Terry and PC Blair Mitchell responded to reports of an incident in Selby where a man had been stabbed.
On attendance officers were faced with a horrific scene, finding a man suffering from serious stab wounds.
They called for ambulance support and on hearing this, officers from the firearms support unit attended, in their Tactical Medical capacity, to provide first aid.
The three officers made lengthy attempts to save the victim’s life - devising a plan to treat him based on the severity of his injuries.
Their actions were described as calm, organised and extremely professional. Matthew and Andrew continued to treat the victim upon the arrival of paramedics, however despite their best efforts he could not be saved.
Off duty PC takes control of multi-vehicle fatal car crash in Barnsley on Sunday 3 April 2022.
PC Luke Alderson was off duty when he came across a serious road traffic collision that had just occurred in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. This involved several vehicles, including an HGV and multiple cars.
The scene was chaotic, with drivers, passengers and members of the public in a state of shock and some suffering from severe, life-threatening injuries.
The most severely injured man was the driver of the Vauxhall Astra, which had collided, head-on, with the HGV.
PC Alderson went to the injured driver’s aid and with an off-duty paramedic administered first aid, but despite their best efforts, the driver died at the scene.
PC Alderson showed immense strength and resolve supporting the driver’s partner, who was crushed in her seat, and a young boy in the rear of the vehicle, who as well as suffering a broken arm was traumatised after witnessing the event.
PC Alderson delivered an excellent response to a terrible situation, administering first aid, ensuring scene safety and integrity, directing members of the public as well as liaising with other emergency responders including his South Yorkshire Police colleagues.
PC Michael Arthur and PC Ross Dixon save the life of a man attempting to self-harm.
When the two officers arrived at the scene, they found an injured man bleeding profusely in his garage after cutting his wrists with a knife, resulting in an extensive loss of blood.
The officers gave immediate first aid, applying two tourniquets and calling for an ambulance that arrived 25 minutes later. These actions stabilised the man’s condition and saved his life.
The two officers accompanied the ambulance to James Cook Hospital, to ensured he stayed safe and did not try to leave, and as they left the hospital, he thanked them for saving his life.
Before starting his day shift on 13 December 2021 Detective Sergeant Alan Williams was walking his dog, at North Duffield in Selby, when he came across a man suffering from a cardiac arrest.
Without hesitation, he offered immediate support, giving CPR until an ambulance crew arrived. However, despite Alan’s efforts the man could not be resuscitated and passed away at the scene.
Despite this traumatic start to the day, DS Williams went home, got ready for work and completed his full shift at York CID.
In May 2022 police received reports that a woman was on a window ledge, at an address in Scarborough, threatening to jump off.
Police arrived at the scene to find a distressed woman on a fourth-floor window ledge threatening to jump. First to arrive were PC Christopher Cyrus and PC Megan Smith who spoke to her, then when off-duty officer PC Andrew Gambles arrived shortly afterwards he went up to the flat to try to help.
Sadly, she fell from the ledge landing onto the concrete steps below.
PC Cyrus and PC Gambles moved her onto the pavement and performed CPR, helped by PC Smith and PC Sophie Milner, until the ambulance arrived.
Sadly, despite their efforts, she did not survive the fall.
Off-duty PC Gemma Brett was taking her daughter to Brownies when she came across a road traffic collision in York in September 2021.
The incident involved a moped which had collided with a car. Ensuring her daughter was taken care off she quickly took control of the situation, calling 999 requesting ambulance and police. Fortunately, she was joined by someone with medical training, which enabled her to deal with the car driver, who was intoxicated, until police arrived.
Once police colleagues arrived at the scene PC Brett was able to focus on providing first aid to the injured moped rider. He had a badly injured, life changing, injury to his leg and was bleeding heavily. She spent a significant amount of time applying pressure to this serious wound and without her first aid, he would probably have died from his injuries.
This was both physically and mentally testing for PC Brett who was at scene for two hours, showing great strength of character and courage in the face of a difficult situation.
If she hadn’t taken control of the situation the moped rider may have died and the driver, who was later arrested, would not have been identified.
Local doorman assists police officer and helps to save the life of a knife wound victim at a Selby takeaway in June 2021.
Carl Noble, from Castleford, assisted the first officer at the scene, PCSO Jack Ledger, to help the victim of a violent incident which happened at a takeaway in Selby.
The man had suffered from a significant knife wound to the chest. Carl immediately took control of the situation, delivering first aid until the ambulance arrived whilst remaining professional, calm and reassuring throughout.
This was a seriously violent incident, and it was clear that Carl's principal aim was to save the victim’s life, which he did without hesitation.
Carl went far beyond his responsibilities to save the man’s life - who thankfully survived his injury.
Police who were called to assist at the scene of an incident in Skipton on 21 December 2021, discovered a man and a woman with severe stab wounds.
Sergeant Andrew Gudgeon was first to arrive at the scene where he quickly arrested the suspect outside. He then entered the house with PC Jessica Hawkins, where they discovered the two unconscious victims in the living room, with no pulse, not breathing, and suffering from multiple stab wounds.
Drawing on his first aid training, Sergeant Gudgeon completed a dynamic triage, assessing the injuries of both victims in order to prioritise which to help first.
Sergeant Gudgeon, PC Hawkins and PC Emily Hewitson then performed CPR on the woman, taking it in turns to administer chest compressions, checking for signs of life and trying to prevent further bleeding.
The officers continued this until paramedics arrived, but sadly despite their efforts, neither victim could be saved. Their son was later convicted of their manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.
Police Constable Nagina Akhtar’s decisive actions helped to save the life of a man assaulted in Thirsk on 1 November 2021.
As PC Akhtar was nearing the end of her shift she was flagged down by a member of the public near to an industrial estate in Thirsk.
They were very concerned about a man who was lying unconscious, on a roadside grass verge, bleeding heavily from a significant head injury.
Requesting an ambulance, she followed her first aid training, checking that he was breathing, and then rolling him onto his side preventing him from choking.
At this point PC Akhtar recognised him as a local man and was able to call him by name. When he stopped breathing, she began chest compressions (CPR), helped by an off-duty doctor who attempted to open his airway. Shortly afterwards he began to breathe, which is when both an ambulance, then an air ambulance arrived.
If it was not for PC Akhtar’s fast and decisive actions the injured man would most likely have died at the scene. However, just nine days later, he was well enough to deliver a bouquet of flowers to her at Thirsk Police Station as a thank you for saving his life.
Four police officers have been nominated for their efforts in administering first aid to a York woman in cardiac arrest on 18 April 2022.
PC Alex Gregory, PC Heidi Leighton-Miles, Sergeant Mark McGillivray and PC Thomas Joyce were alerted by the ambulance service to a 36-year-old in cardiac arrest at her home.
PC Leighton-Miles arrived and started chest compressions whilst PC Gregory supported the family of the patient with great compassion, trying to calm and reassure them. At the same time finding out about her medical history and conveying this to the medical professionals.
When PC Joyce and Sgt McGillivray arrived they worked with ambulance staff to continue chest compressions and airway management for 45 minutes, despite fatigue and nine shocks being given by the defibrillator.
Just before leaving the scene, sustained circulation returned, which continued until the patient arrived at hospital.
Sadly, despite the best efforts of everybody involved, she died in hospital later that night.
Immediate first aid effort saves the life of collapsed man in Richmond on 27 July 2022.
Graham Barber was walking up Castle Hill, Richmond with a friend, who, as they were nearing the top collapsed face forwards with blood coming from his mouth and nose.
Calling for help Graham was assisted by Tracy Hudson and Thomas (Tom) Nichols.
When the collapsed man stopped breathing they turned him onto his back. Tom began mouth to mouth resuscitation, whilst Graham and Tracy carried out chest compressions and thanks to their efforts he eventually began breathing again.
Then, they were joined by PC Steven Gardner and PC Michael Smith who took over resuscitation efforts until ambulances arrived. Resuscitation continued and the patient was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at James Cook Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where he was placed into an induced coma.
His condition was so serious it was thought that he may not survive the night. Thankfully he awoke from the induced coma the following day with the surgeon reporting that without the immediate first aid given at the scene he is unlikely to have survived.
When Inspector Christopher Brumfitt and PC Martin Scott found a man hanging at an address in York they provided essential first aid, supporting both him and his family during this traumatic time.
In May 2022 police were called after a man was found unconscious by his family. PC Scott was the first to arrive at the scene where the man’s family were administering first aid including chest compressions.
PC Scott took over the CPR before being joined by Inspector Brumfitt. Shortly afterwards the man began to breathe again so they cared for him until paramedics arrived. Throughout this time the officers provided reassurance to both him and his family.
Despite the patient being very ill, their calm and professional actions have given him the best possible chance of making a full recovery.
Student officer, PC Alice Wilson and PC Mark Cole save the life of a driver involved in road traffic collision in York on 14 September 2021.
The collision, which happened at Tower Street, occurred when the driver of a taxi suffered a heart attack causing him to accelerate into the back of a scaffolding lorry.
Upon arrival the officers discovered the driver of the taxi was not breathing, however after performing CPR he regained consciousness.
Thanks to the two PC’s the injured man survived the heart attack and has since thanked the officers for their life saving actions.
Police were called to an isolated field where a farmer, working with his son, collapsed after suffering chest pains in February 2022.
The farmer’s son started chest compressions and called 999. As the closest ambulance was some distance away, PCs Jonathan Weeks, Mark Reed, Lewis Grainge and Craig Fox were sent to provide emergency first aid, arriving 15 minutes later and taking over the chest compressions.
When paramedics arrived they applied a defibrillator.
The officers continued doing chest compressions for a total of 50 minutes - resulting in the farmer’s heart restarting.
They then carried him around 400m, across rough ground, to the ambulance which took him to York District Hospital.
The paramedics praised both the officers for their professionalism and quality of first aid.
Sadly, the farmer died a few days later - but the actions of these officers made it possible for his family to visit him and say their goodbyes, for which they thanked all the officers involved.
On a morning in January 2022 Adam Spencer Wilcock came to the aid of a man who had collapsed unexpectedly on Swadford Street, Skipton.
As a crowd of people was starting to gather, Adam, who was passing by, quickly took charge of the situation. Drawing on his first aid training he began CPR on the unconscious man, who was not breathing, also making sure that the emergency services were called.
When police arrived Sergeant Jon Perrett took over CPR from Adam whilst the ambulance service set up their equipment.
Meanwhile PC Nigel Bryan identified witnesses and took statements, discovering the identity of the collapsed man, as well as taking over traffic control to maintain road safety.
On searching the man’s pockets his vehicle was identified, which PC Zak Spence tried to find in order to corroborate his identity, for both the ambulance service and so that his next of kin could be contacted.
PCSO Gillian Seed arranged a shield around the patient then worked with Sgt Perrett to perform CPR.
On route to the Airedale Hospital Sgt Perrett continued to provide CPR in the ambulance, where luckily the man stabilised.
In total CPR was conducted for around one hour - which undoubtedly saved the man’s life.
Feedback from the ambulance team was glowing, they were very impressed with the quality of CPR and thanks the support they received were able to administer adrenaline, medications and deliver shocks – all of which played a key role in keeping this man alive. The good news is that the patient was discharged from hospital a few days later.
The prompt CPR the patient received from Adam and the officers was a key factor in his survival.
Teamwork saves life of player during a game of football on 3 December 2020, at Playfootball, York.
When a player collapsed on the pitch during a game of football volunteer referee Jamie (Jay) Davis (a Warrant Officer in the 2 Signals regiment) and member of public Oliver Hurd performed life-saving actions.
The player was unresponsive, with no pulse, and not breathing - so working together Oliver applied the defibrillator whilst Jay commenced CPR.
The collapsed man was deceased when the paramedics took over, however shortly afterwards he regained a pulse and attempted to breathe on his own before being rushed to hospital and placed into a coma.
Luckily he recovered, however without Oliver and Jay's quick-thinking actions, the outcome could have been very different.
Mr Stephen Ruane’s quick thinking actions in attempting to rescue people from a house fire near Selby in June 2022 helped to save the life of one of the residents.
Whilst driving back to his home in York, after taking his partner to an early morning flight, Stephen spotted a plume of smoke, and as he drew nearer, realised it was a house on fire.
Hearing someone calling for help he saw a woman at an open first-floor window. After calling the Fire Service he encouraged her to get out of the window, but she didn’t move.
He attempted to climb onto the roof before managing to get in through the front door where he discovered a man, possibly in shock, who told him the woman upstairs was his mother.
Stephen tried to get upstairs but was unable to due to the fire damage and falling debris.
Then, using ladders from the garage to get onto a flat roof, he tried again to get the woman out, pulling at her arms - however sadly she was not moving. As the heat was beginning to cause the plastic around the windows to melt he was forced to climb back down to the ground where he once again called the Fire Service.
Thanks to Stephen’s actions the man he discovered was taken to hospital and survived, suffering burns to his shoulders.