A Wigan bobby has been commended for saving a man’s life in Haigh Country Park.
Martin Burkinshaw 42, who works as a neighbourhood police officer in Wigan, received a Chief’s Commendation at a prestigious awards ceremony.
To be honest, I was shocked to receive the award because what I did was what my colleagues are doing on a daily basisMartin Buckshaw
A man went into Haigh Hall Country Park in Wigan then rang his ex-girlfriend saying he was going to commit suicide there. He also sent her a photograph of a rope with which he intended to hang himself.
Several police officers, police dogs, the police helicopter and the mountain rescue service all attended, along with a police search co-ordinator, but they could find no trace of him.
Having spent all night there, scouring the park for over five hours and refusing to give up the search, Martin found the man in question at 6:30am.
The man was up a large tree with a ligature tied tightly around his neck, but thankfully still alive. Martin climbed the tree and pulled the subject up onto a secure branch. He burnt through the rope with a lighter, saving the man’s life.
Martin visited him the next evening in hospital and his progress was better than expected. The man was immensely grateful for Martin’s actions and admitted to having researched the exact location to end his life earlier in the day, picking the spot precisely because of its hidden location.
Martin Burkinshaw said: “I felt lucky that I was able to find him. When I was trying to keep hold of him he was telling me that he could not hold on. As I was trying to hold him up I was also trying to direct my colleagues and the mountain rescue team to help us as the mapping system for our radios was not working.
“Whilst I was looking for him I kept seeing his poor parents frantically searching for him and this spurred me on to carry on looking for him. When the mountain rescue team and my colleagues found us I felt relieved and then is when it dawned on me that the male was so close to dying and we had managed to save him.
“To be honest, I was shocked to receive the award because what I did was what my colleagues are doing on a daily basis. On this occasion any of my colleagues would have done the same and during the night there was outstanding teamwork and effort put in by the police, mountain rescue and the male’s family. I wanted to accept the award on their behalf as well as it was a team effort.”
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said “It is only through Martin’s sheer dedication, the thoroughness of his search and the unwillingness to let a family lose their son, that the man’s life was saved.”