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Bravery honours for Wolverhampton heroes who helped motorway driver

By David Banner | Wolverhampton | Transport | Published:

Two Wolverhampton-based highways officers who risked their lives to help a driver who collapsed at the wheel of his car on a busy motorway will receive top national bravery and life-saving honours.

The M6 close to Junction 10 and Junction 10a

Martin Sherwood and Malcolm Thomas arrived at the scene in their patrol vehicle shortly after a lorry driver had stopped after spotting vehicles swerving to avoid a car which was stationary between lanes three and four.

He had parked behind the car to prevent it being hit by other traffic.

The incident happened on the northbound carriageway of the M6 between junctions 10 and 10a near Wolverhampton just after 7am on December 21 last year.

Realising that something was drastically wrong, lorry driver Andrew Pakeman positioned his lorry behind the car to protect it from being hit by other traffic and put his hazard warning lights on.

Then, risking his life to get out of his cab on to the motorway, he made his way to the car to find the driver slumped over the wheel, unresponsive and with no pulse.

At that point the Highways Agency patrol vehicle arrived with Martin Sherwood and Malcolm Thomas in it.

Realising that time was crucial the three of them then got the driver out of the vehicle, laid him on the motorway and immediately began administering CPR.

Shortly after that Dr Scott Beattie, from Lymm near Warrington, who was on his way home after a hospital night shift, arrived and joined in the fight to save the motorist’s life.

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Between them they managed to re-start his heart and he was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery and ultimately went on to make a good recovery.

Doctors said later that it was thanks to the CPR work on the motorway that the driver survived.

Now the four rescue heroes have all been awarded bravery and life-saving honours.

Andrew Pakeman is to receive a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum which has been personally approved and will be signed by the society’s president, Princess Alexandra.

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Dr Scott, Mr Sherwood and Mr Thomas are to receive Testimonials on Parchment from the society and will also receive Resuscitation Certificates.

Andrew Chapman, the Society’s Secretary said: “This was a horrendously dangerous situation for all concerned. Anyone who gets out of a vehicle on a motorway is taking their life in their hands but these four didn’t hesitate to go to the aid of the driver who had collapsed.

“Time is of the essence in situations like this. There is no room for delay. The sooner CPR is started the better the chances are of it succeeding.

“Doctors have praised the four of them for saving his life. They did a superb job and richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

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