Volunteer who saved crashed van driver's life recognised with award

A St John Ambulance volunteer who risked her own safety to save the life of a man involved in a crash has been recognised for her heroic actions.

Lynne Richards with award
Lynne Richards with award

Lynne Richards, 44, and from Telford, helped save Steven Shorter's life after his van crashed in Telford in March last year.

Lynne, who is the face of the St John Ambulance Ask Me campaign, has received a special commendation at a West Mercia Police awards ceremony, from Chief Constable Pippa Mills.

Steven has also spoken of his thanks, saying "I owe my life to her".

The award has come from the Royal Humane Society, which recognises those who respond quickly during an emergency and use their first aid skills to help save a life.

Lynne had been in a taxi on her way into Telford’s Town Centre when she witnessed a van, being driven by Steven, ploughing into a wall.

She quickly realised something was wrong, calmly took control of the situation and started battling to save his life.

She said: “The driver’s side was wedged against the wall, so I climbed into the van on the passenger side, shouting at a woman passer-by to call 999. An air bag on the passenger's side had inflated and was glowing orange and smouldering. Someone was shouting at me that I needed to get out of the van in case the air bag burst into flames.

“The man was breathing, and I didn’t want to move him initially in case he had neck and spinal injuries. But then I realised he was not breathing normally, and he subsequently lost consciousness so I knew I had to get him out. I told myself out loud that it was a case of life over limb.”

Lynne and Steve are reunited

Lynne called on a passing cyclist to help her get Steven out of the van and lie him on the pavement.

“At that point it was obvious he’d stopped breathing so I unzipped his jacket and started chest compressions. A town centre security guard arrived, so I asked him to radio for a defibrillator.”

Lynne continued cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while the guard used the defibrillator to deliver shocks to Steven’s heart until paramedics and police officers arrived at the scene.

After two shocks were delivered, Steven regained consciousness and was taken to hospital, where he made a full recovery.

The police officer Lucy Jones, who responded to the scene with Lynne, also received the special award on Wednesday.

Telford local policing commander, Superintendent James Dunn, said: “The St John Ambulance provide an incredibly valuable service in support of us as police, and the wider emergency services, and we welcome their hard work and the hard work of all of those who volunteer to help keep our communities safer, including our own special constables.

“Lynne’s quick thinking and life-saving actions in March of last year are very deserving of a RHS award, and we are pleased to be able to recognise her in this way. Congratulations to Lynne again.”

On receiving the award Lynne said: “I feel so proud to be recognised in this way. It is a wonderful feeling knowing I was able to use all my skills to help save Steven’s life.

“But anyone can do what I did that day. I would urge everyone to learn a lifesaving skill like CPR – or basic first aid. You never know when you may need it.”

Lynne has since been reunited with Steven, which gave him a chance to thank Lynne in person for everything she did that day.

He said: “I owe my life to her. I don’t remember anything about what happened, and I have no memory of Lynne, but I’ll always be grateful to her and for the fact that she had those skills which meant she knew exactly what to do when it mattered most."

As a testament to Lynne’s incredible lifesaving actions, St John has made her a face of its Ask Me campaign.

The campaign runs from April to June and hopes to help increase vital donations, recruit more people into its youth programmes and encourage everyone to learn first aid skills.

The charity has a huge range of first aid resources online, and courses across the country, for anyone wanting to learn how to save a life.

People can find out more and sign up at sja.org.uk.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News