One cold autumn day, Shawn Young (13), Devonte Cafferkey (13) and Sammy Farah (14) were walking home from school in Hertfordshire, UK, when they saw a man sitting on the edge of a bridge, a rope around his neck. Instinctively they ran to him, tried to talk him down, and when they couldn’t and he jumped, they grabbed onto him and didn't let go.
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The man passed out, getting heavier by the second, and still they wouldn't let go even though his weight could have dragged them down too.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning show last year, Devonte explains what they saw and how they tried to talk the man down:
“We ran and got help and we saw a rope around his neck and we were persuading him not to jump,” he explains. “He was crying and wiping his eyes; we said, ‘You’ve got family, it’s not worth it.’”
Shawn called out for help and rang the police. Passerby Joanne Stammers, a registered disabled woman with Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome – a disability that makes her highly susceptible to blood clotting – stepped in and took over from the boys and held onto the man which, because of her disability, resulted in bruises all over her body.
The three boys, along with Joanne Stammer and James Higlett who also assisted in saving the man’s life, will each receive an award from the Royal Humane Society for their efforts. The boys have already been awarded with Special Achievement Awards at the Broxbourne Youth Awards for their heroism.
Shawn’s mom, Carol, said she is “extremely proud” of the boys. "I hope other children can see it’s worth stopping to help someone. It’s nice that they are getting recognised for doing something good in the community,” she commented. “Quite often in the national news there are a lot of negative reports about young people so it is nice to have something positive.”
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We too are marvelling at the incredible level of maturity in these boys, and their compassion and bravery are truly inspiring. To see a man so defeated and ready to do anything to end his suffering, and still try and risk their own safety to help him, is admirable. Shawn explains, “I didn’t want anyone to see him dead. I didn’t want to put anyone through that.”
From saving a life to standing up to a bully, have your children done anything heroic you'd like us to know about? Tell us by emailing email@example.com and we may publish your story.
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