A Banbridge woman has been recognised by the PSNI for helping to save the life of a man who was contemplating suicide.
Sharon McCrum was presented with a ‘recognition certificate’ by the police at a special awards presentation event in Craigavon Civic Centre last Tuesday night.
Sharon, who works as a dental nurse, wasn’t available for comment at the time of publication. However, her husband, Alderman Junior McCrum, explained how his wife was driving home one afternoon when she spotted the man standing on the bridge over the A1 dual carriageway at The Outlet, seemingly about to throw himself onto the road below.
“She got out of the car and went and talked to the man for about two hours. The police arrived while she was there, but the man didn’t want anything to do with them, he just wanted to keep talking to Sharon,” Alderman McCrum explained.
“It was lashing with rain that day and she was soaked through, but she stayed there talking to him.
“Through her negotiation and her persuasion she managed to talk him round and get him to come back over the railings. I am extremely proud of her.”
The DUP man added: “It is a great honour for Sharon to be recognised at the PSNI awards and we as a family are very proud of how she conducted herself when faced with such a challenge. It was a daunting experience and her communication certainly saved a life on this occasion.”
Praising Mrs McCrum for her “heroism”, Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said: “I am delighted that the police saw fit to recognise Sharon for this as she ensured that a precious life was saved. She is a composed and assured communicator which stood her in good stead.”
She added: “During the course of the evening we saw awards given to many police officers who had gone above and beyond the call of duty and for Sharon to be recognised as a member of the public was particularly special.”
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Cllr Paul Greenfield, was among those who attended the ceremony, during which a number of police officers and civilians received awards.
Congratulating Mrs McCrum on her certificate, he said: “This is a fantastic award and very well deserved. She was actually stood at the other side of the railings with her arms around the man, talking to him and making sure he didn’t jump. Her communication skills undoubtedly saved this man’s life.
“So many others would have just driven on by and not even noticed what was going on, so she is very deserving of this award.”
• If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info
More information on looking after your mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info