Quick-thinking family praised for saving a life

Paul and Claire Goulden with their children Neve and Daniel - with Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine
Paul and Claire Goulden with their children Neve and Daniel - with Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine

A couple from Wigan have received a Chief Constable’s Citizen Commendation award for stopping a woman taking her own life.

Paul and Claire Goulden from Whelley were taking their two children, Neve who was six and Daniel who was three years old at the time, to Haigh Hall for a walk around the hall and park.

As the Goulden family approached the park entrance they noticed a number of police vans and officers in the area. Claire asked the officers what was happening because she didn’t want her children to see anything upsetting.

They were informed that they were searching for a young woman whose welfare they were concerned about and asked them to let them know if they saw anything while on their walk.

After about half an hour of walking Claire noticed a young woman on her own in the distance. They stopped and Claire watched the woman from a distance to check she was okay.

Claire said: “I had a horrible feeling that the girl was going to harm herself but at this point she hadn’t done anything. I called the police to inform them that we had spotted her and we were worried she was going to hurt herself.

“I then saw her tie a scarf around her neck, so I shouted to my husband to get over there and do something.

“Paul ran over and by the time he got to her she was hanging from the tree. He lifted her up, the scarf became loose and they both fell to the floor.”

Claire called the police as they were quite a distance from the entrance of the hall where they had seen the officers. Paul began talking to the woman to calm her down and started to walk with her towards his family and together they walked to the police.

Paul said: “The whole thing was just so unexpected – one minute you are there on a nice walk with your family and the next minute we are trying to save this poor woman from taking her own life.

“I am pleased that Claire noticed her as she was in such a secluded area, there was a chance she could have hanged herself and not be found for some time. I guess it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

They were presented with the Chief Constable’s Citizens Commendation for their act of bravery on August 9 at a ceremony at GMP’s Hough End complex.

Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine, who presented the couple with their award, said: “Paul and Claire’s quick actions helped to save a woman’s life and it must have been difficult for them to get involved as they had their two small children with them.

“They obviously wanted to help the woman but of course had the welfare of their own children to consider as well.

“The fact that they were able to help save her life and their children didn’t see anything shows how calm and in control of the situation they were.

“It must have been very distressing for them to go through this."