Home Events Knotty Ash Hero Scoops Lifesaver Award

Knotty Ash Hero Scoops Lifesaver Award

Gary Campbell of Virgin Trains has won this year’s Samaritans Lifesaver Award.

A normal afternoon at Crewe station turned into a life and death drama after a woman tried to take her own life on the station. Gary Campbell of Virgin Trains was at the station for a meeting when he learned of the crisis.

Arif Mahmood, station team leader at Virgin Trains, takes up the story. ‘It was just a normal afternoon at Crewe station when Heather Hodkinson, a newly appointed station manager, came out of a meeting and received a call from a colleague passing through Crewe station.’

The concerned call was about a woman who had locked herself in a toilet cubical on the station. Heather rushed to the scene and asked Gary Campbell, an office manager at Liverpool, who was also at Crewe for a meeting and had just missed his train back to Liverpool, to assist. Immediately abandoning thoughts of getting home to Knotty Ash, Gary joined Heather and together the pair went into the ladies toilet where they found one of the cubicals was locked.

Someone was inside and was refusing to open the door.

‘Heather and Gary tried negotiation tactics but were unsuccessful. Both had a gut instinct about this situation and decided to open the cubical door,’ says Arif.

Paramedics who later attended the scene praised Gary and Heather’s intervention. Happily the lady recovered.

Gary works as a route office manager in Liverpool. ‘This award is great. Who do I thank? Various colleagues but especially Heather Hodkinson, Cheryl Guyler and Arif Mahmood.’

Ola Rzepczynska, strategic programme manager, Network Rail, said, ’Samaritans are delighted to have sponsored the Lifesaver Award for the fourth year in a row.

‘We have been working with the rail industry since 2010 on the suicide prevention programme and have delivered our suicide prevention courses to over 10,000 staff, giving them the tools to be able to help vulnerable and potentially suicidal people on the network.

‘During this time there have been many examples of potentially life- saving interventions by rail industry personnel and British Transport Police officers all over England, Scotland and Wales.

‘All of these individuals have proved that having the courage and taking the time to talk and listen to someone in need can make a real difference to that person’s life. It is fantastic that we have been able to recognise the huge positive difference that rail industry staff have been making on the network at the RailStaff Awards this year, and we hope to continue doing so in years to come.’

Highly commended

  • Sam Kariuki, Land Sheriffs
  • Rachel Stockton, NorthernRail

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