Award for good samaritan who talked teenager off A17 bridge

A man who talked a teenager back from the wrong side of the barriers of a bridge over the A17 has been given an award from Lincolnshire Police for his outstanding act of public service.

Matthew Taylor of Welbourn and his award. Photo: Lincs Police EMN-211022-140221001

Father-of-two Matthew Taylor, of Welbourn, approached the boy and engaged him in conversation before managing to coax him to safety, where they talked for a bit longer before the young man said he felt okay enough to travel home.

The incident happened on July 29, 2020 during lockdown, when the streets were quiet with limited numbers of passers-by who could have intervened.

Matthew said that the barriers of the bridge are high enough to stop someone falling over the side, so to be standing on the wrong side could only have happened intentionally.

He said: “I knew that there wouldn’t be anyone coming past who would see him because of the location, and I just felt that I had to stop,” said Matthew, who was dad to a young daughter at the time and has since had a son.

“I said, ‘Hey, you don’t want to be on that side, come on let’s talk’, and eventually he came back to the safe side and sat with me. We talked for a while, and eventually he was okay and took his own bike home.

“I was able to track down his mum and called her to let her know what had happened, which was a difficult call to make.”

Later that day, the boy’s mother called Matthew to say she would be forever grateful for what he did, which was followed by a call from the father.

Following the events, Matthew’s father nominated him for an award with the police, and this week, he was awarded the Area Commander’s Certificate of Commendation. The award is given to members of the public who demonstrate exceptional courage and bravery. Its presentation has been delayed due to Covid.

Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam said: “This award is in recognition of Matthew’s outstanding humanity and public spirit whilst cycling home from work.

“Matthew observed a young man standing on the wrong side of the barrier of a bridge spanning the A17. He stopped at the scene in order to engage with the vulnerable individual and successfully persuaded the teenager to move to safety. Matthew then took it upon himself to make contact with the parents in order to alert them to the incident.

“His intervention meant that the situation didn’t escalate into one which needed the police or other emergency services. Without his intervention, this could have been a very different outcome.”

The award was presented at the police’s South Park Blue Lights Campus in Lincoln on Wednesday. Matthew had his wife and children with him, and was presented with a certificate, and a police mascot cuddly toy dog, Berni, a German Shepard who comes kitted out in a little black hoodie. Both children also got a pup to play with.