Winners: Ola Rzepczynska, Purna Gurung, Tek Malla and Mark Jones (Railstaff Presenter)

“Those two officers helped to save my life”

Two Land Sheriffs security officers have won the annual Samaritans’ Lifesaver award after they used skills their Samaritans and Network Rail training to save a man’s life.

Two Land Sheriffs security officers working in West Sussex have won the annual Samaritans’ Lifesaver award after they used skills learned as part of the charity’s training to save a man’s life.

In a thank you email the man they rescued said: “Those two officers helped to save my life, I know this for a fact.”

Tek Malla and Purna Gurung used training from Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course to reach out to a person in need, and supported them until further help arrived.

Each year Samaritans’ Lifesaver Award is presented at the Railstaff Awards in Coventry. The award recognises potentially life-saving actions of rail staff across the railway network, and the nominees are people who have gone above and beyond to help a someone in need.

Land sheriffs are a security service contracted by Network Rail to provide protection and security in south east England. More than 100 land sheriffs have completed the Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course.

James Graysmark from London Midland and Esther Burns from Virgin Trains were highly commended for their nominations and their life-saving actions.

Ola Rzepczynska, Strategic Programme Manager Network Rail partnership, said: “We know from experience that giving people the space to talk about their problems can really help, and a sensitively managed intervention by rail staff and British Transport Police officers can make a real difference to someone’s life. Tek and Purna’s actions are a fantastic example of this. Many congratulations to them both!”

Mark Carne, Network Rail Chief Executive, said: “In recent years the rail industry has made significant strides with its partners in preventing suicides on the railway.  In the last two years, we have seen 47 fewer people take their own lives on our rail network which is a sobering thought. Network Rail is proud of the work the industry’s people do in preventing suicides and helping some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Tyler LeMay, Managing Director of the Land Sheriffs said: “We have saved 151 lives on the rail network since 2013, but key to this success is our relationship with the Samaritans, which has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.

“Tek and Purna winning the Lifesaver award at this year’s RailStaff Awards is testament to everyone’s collective efforts, but this incident was truly inspirational, as they both went above and beyond in order to save the individual’s life.”

Since 2010, Samaritans has trained more than 16,000 railway staff to spot and help vulnerable people on the railway, or to support colleagues affected by trauma. Thanks to the training and the ongoing collective efforts of the wider rail industry, suicides on the GB rail network have fallen by 17 per cent in the last two years. There were also over 1500 interventions on the railway in 2016/17.

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Picture caption:  Winners: Ola Rzepczynska, Purna Gurung, Tek Malla and Mark Jones (Railstaff Presenter)

For more information visit Samaritans’ rail and suicide page.

Notes to editors:

  • You can call Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
  • Samaritans responds to more than 5.7 million calls for help every year
  • It is the public’s kind donations which keep Samaritans service going. To donate please go to:  https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/donate-online