Public heroes praised by police for helping save life of man on Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge

Four people have been praised by police after they helped save the life of a distressed man on Sunderland’s Wearmouth Bridge.

Shortly after 1pm on September 24, Anthony Gibson, Charmette Rogers, and David and Jacqueline Barkel were travelling across the Wearmouth Bridge when a distressed man was spotted on the wrong side of the railings. Onlookers raised the alarm by dialling 999 to report their concerns to police and as emergency services made their way to the scene, Anthony, Charmette, David and Jaqueline – who had parked their cars safely nearby – decided they couldn’t leave the man alone.

The group cautiously approached the man and started to engage in conversation with him before officers arrived and helped bring the man to safety. Officers say it was all thanks to the ‘patience and empathy’ of this group of kind strangers that the man was able to be brought to safety and support was arranged for him.

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Chief Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, praised each of them for going above and beyond – and awarded them with a Commander’s Compliment certificate for their efforts.

L to R: Charmette Rogers, Chief Superintendent Barrie Joisce, Jacqueline Barkel (attending on behalf of David Barkel also) and Anthony Gibson.

He said: “Though officers were just minutes away, we know that every second counts in a situation like this. Anthony, Charmette, David and Jacqueline showed true compassion and remained calm throughout what would have been a new experience for them all. It was thanks to their sensible approach, outstanding communication skills and quick-thinking that the man engaged with them and was brought to safety. I am full of praise for everyone involved who demonstrated such empathy and selflessness in a time of need for someone they did not know.

He added: “Though it’s not always appropriate for a member of the public to intervene in an incident like this, a stranger’s kindness can mean the world to someone during a vulnerable moment, and these very kind strangers did absolutely the right thing. Thank you for the kindness you were able to show a person who needed help in that moment.”

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If you see someone in a similar situation, in distress or danger and believe they need help, always dial 999.