TWO South Yorkshire Police officers have been awarded top honours after they fought a life-or-death struggle to stop a suicidal man from jumping from a bridge in Mexborough.
PCs Della Leasley and Trevor Welch battled to hold the man to prevent him falling, after he had threatened to jump from Banbury canal bridge on Doncaster Road.
The dramatic scene unfolded last July, as one of the officers clung onto the man with one hand, while the other managed to persuade him to come back to safety.
The officers’ citation read: “Had he fallen though, he would almost certainly have died and could have killed others”.
Now the brave PCs are to be rewarded with testimonials from the Royal Humane Society.
The crime-fighting duo have also received the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the society.
Mr Wilkinson said: “This incident could well have ended tragically. Thanks to the efforts of these two officers it didn’t and they richly deserve the awards they are to receive.
“The two officers had been alerted by a member of the public who had spotted the man on the wrong side of the bridge railings and had already tried to talk him out of jumping.
“The bridge spans the canal at a point where it is 30 metres wide and the drop from the bridge is six metres.”
He added: “By the time the officers arrived after a 999 call, the man had lowered himself to a position where it was difficult for anyone to hold him and he was holding on with just one hand.
“The two officers both held on to him and he let go with both feet and hands.
“PC Welch then held him singlehandedly over the railings whilst PC Leasley climbed over onto the parapet.
“Eventually, they persuaded the man to stand on the ledge and from there they brought him onto the bridge.”
No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards - which have been made on the recommendation of the officers’ bosses at South Yorkshire Police.
The force’s Deputy Chief Constable, Bob Dyson, said: “It is really pleasing to see the brave and selfless actions taken by police constables Della Leasley and Trevor Welch to save the life of a suicidal man being recognised by the Royal Humane Society.
“Both officers showed that they were prepared to put their own safety at risk in order to save the life of another.
“The force is very proud of them, they have acted professionally in very difficult circumstances, their recognition is well deserved.”