Former Penketh High School pupil James Barnshaw is one of four public services students from Warrington & Vale Royal College described by police as “brave and selfless heroes” after saving a man’s life.
Connor O’Hara, Kaileb Walters, James Barnshaw and Nathan Kenyon showed no hesitation in coming to the aid of the man, who was considering jumping from the bridge over the M62 motorway at Winwick.
The boys – who are in the final year of their level 3 public services course at the college – stayed with the man and kept him calm.
The drama had been captured on CCTV, with motorway police later tweeting about the “unsung heroes”. A social media appeal, launched by Warrington Worldwide, tracked down the boys to Warrington & Vale Royal College.
On Monday, Connor, Kaileb, James and Nathan were presented with “Good Citizen” citations by Inspector Hannah Friend, from Cheshire Police.
She praised the boys for their actions and said they showed “the best qualities of community spirit” and would be ideal candidates for careers in the force – a route all four hope to take in the future.
17 year old Nathan said: “We were just walking home from college when we saw the man. We asked if he was ok and he said no – we knew then that something wasn’t right. Kaileb and I put ourselves between him and the edge of the bridge and kept a gentle hand on him, partly for reassurance.”
Kaileb added: “He was obviously distressed so we just tried to keep him calm while we waited for the police. We were talking about normal things like football. He was a really nice, genuine guy who was obviously in a state of distress. We just wanted to help and we really hope he is getting the help he needs now and that he is ok.”
Describing themselves as like brothers, Nathan added: “We have only known each other for two years but we are best friends, we’re like brothers. Usually it is just me and Kaileb who walk home that way but we couldn’t have done it on our own – we all pulled together.”
Police had received multiple calls from members of the public reporting concerns for the man’s welfare, but initial information had given the wrong location leading to a short delay in police attendance.
Inspector Friend said: “Fortunately, four members of the public – who we now know to be Connor, Kaileb, James and Nathan – were there to help. Without their intervention, it is possible the male may have come to harm in his distressed state.
“These individuals have acted with compassion, bravery and selflessness. They have demonstrated the best qualities of community spirit and have rightly been described as “pillars of the community” for their outstanding assistance during this incident.”
Nathan added: “We weren’t aware that there was CCTV filming us – we didn’t do it for the recognition, it was just instinct and something we hope any other human would do.”
College Principal Nichola Newton congratulated the four students on their citation, adding: “We are so incredibly proud of Kaileb, Nathan, Connor and James – they are a credit to the college!”