Housing staff hailed for heroic acts

HELPING HANDS: Richard Loughlin, David Graham, Stephen Graham and Paul Bainbridge, with Tracey Pearson, Danielle Richardson and Joyce Colclough in the front row, are among those to be praised by housing chiefs.
HELPING HANDS: Richard Loughlin, David Graham, Stephen Graham and Paul Bainbridge, with Tracey Pearson, Danielle Richardson and Joyce Colclough in the front row, are among those to be praised by housing chiefs.
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SUPERHERO housing staff have been praised after an amazing string of life-saving acts.

Employees and contractors at Cestria Community Housing have helped avert a serious house blaze, stopped a runaway car with a baby inside and come to the aid of a suspected heart attack victim and a woman with breathing difficulties.

Among those helped was tenant Margaret Dodd, whose home was undergoing work when a team of roofers noticed a strong smell of burning.

They found a tea towel, left near the electric cooker’s hot plates, had caught fire.

The group, who work for Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) North East, had been contracted by Cestria to carry out renovations to some of its properties.

Luckily the team, made up of brothers Stephen and Dave Graham and their dad Dave, all from Sunderland and pal Richard Loughlin, managed to remove and extinguish the tea towel before serious damage was done to the property in Chester-le-Street.

They also ensured Mrs Dodd was not hurt and made sure the house was ventilated.

Mrs Dodd, 80, said: “I didn’t realise what had happened until one of the lads shouted that there was a fire.

“They put it out and opened all the doors to get rid of the smoke.

“I don’t know what I would have done if they weren’t there.”

The drama came just days after Paul Bainbridge, a support services worker for Chester-le-Street-based Cestria, helped stop a runaway car carrying a baby.

He had been mowing his lawn in Brinkburn, Chester-le-Street, when he saw a Jeep rolling down the road with no one behind the wheel.

He sprinted after the vehicle and managed to halt it before it careered into a row of cars.

It was only then he realised there was a baby in the back of the car.

Mr Bainbridge said: “It could have been a really nasty accident. The woman who owned the car was really upset, but I managed to calm her down and her little boy was fine, which was all that mattered.”

Workers at Cestria’s One Stop Shop, in Front Street, Chester-le-Street, have also been praised for their actions during two recent incidents.

When an elderly man collapsed at the bus stop outside, customer services advisor Joyce Colclough, who is trained in first aid, loosened his shirt and tie and kept him talking while colleagues, Tracy Pearson and Danielle Richardson, called an ambulance and his family.

It is believed he was kept in hospital overnight and the staff involved have since received a thank-you card from his niece.

In a separate incident, the staff helped a young woman who was suffering from breathing difficulties.

Paramedics then treated the woman, who was believed to be suffering an asthma attack, at the scene.

Lisa Coverdale, Cestria customer relationship manager, said: “Customer service is our number one priority and all the staff and contractors involved in these recent incidents went above and beyond the call of duty to offer their help.

“We are all very proud of their brave actions.”

Twitter: @echoeastdurham