Wolverhampton bridge rescue couple get top awards
A husband and wife from Wolverhampton who stood in the pouring rain for almost an hour to talk down a distraught woman from jumping off a bridge to her death have both received national awards for saving her life.
Adrian and Anne-Marie Phillips were driving to their Lanesfield home in June last year after visiting Adrian’s mother in Tipton.
Their sons, 12-year-old Adrian and 10-year-old Samuel, were in the back of the car, and it was young Adrian who spotted a woman climbing over the railings to a bridge, where a 25 foot drop waited underneath.
Mother-of-four Anne-Marie got out of the car to talk to the woman, while husband Adrian carefully waited nearby.
After calmly reassuring her for more than half an hour, the brave husband and wife took a risk and grabbed the woman, pulling her back from the edge to safety.
Their actions have now been praised by the Royal Humane Society, with both of them to receive certificates of commendation for their bravery.
Anne-Marie, 33, said: “When we saw her, I told my husband to stop the car and drive back up. I said let me go up to her.
“She had been drinking alcohol and told me she had a lot of mental health issues. She said she’d fallen out with her partner.
“She was crying and her make-up was running. I just kept trying to reassure her.
“She kept saying she was going to do it and I was thinking of anything I could say to stop it.
“I was talking about my children, asking her if she had any, and I spoke about my past issues and whether she had any hobbies. That’s when I found out she played bingo. I go with my mother-in-law so I started talking about that. I said to her, I hadn’t seen her down the Bilston Mecca before.”
- The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at samaritans.org
Anne-Marie linked arms with the woman as she stood on the railings, hoping if she fell she could hang onto her.
She added: “A transit van pulled up and a man and a lady got out. She was about to jump so me, my husband and this other man grabbed her and pulled her back.
“We called the ambulance and let her sit in our car and have a cigarette and calm her down.
“I was just listening and was careful in what I was saying. I didn’t want to trigger her at all, I just wanted to befriend her.
“I wanted to make sure she had someone to talk to. Everything seemed to happen so quick. My boys can still remember it – my 12-year-old Adrian was quite ill for a while after it.
“I hope the lady is well. We haven’t seen her but I do hope she is OK.”
The couple, who also have daughters Casey-Brooke, 16, and Demi-May 13, said they never expected to receive an award for what they did that night.
Adrian, 48, said: “It was horrendous really on the night but I thought we had just done a good deed and carried on really. That’s it. When you see something like that you just can’t drive past.”
His wife added: “If I had driven past it would have stuck with me forever. Even after, it did play on my mind for a while.”
Secretary of the Royal Humane Society Andrew Chapman said the Lanesfield couple’s actions had ‘almost certainly’ saved the woman’s life.
Announcing their awards, he added: “If the woman had jumped from the bridge her chances of survival would have been thin.
“Thankfully though Mr and Mrs Phillips arrived on the scene at just the right moment and almost certainly saved the woman’s life.
“They richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”