Courageous quartet of Staffordshire drivers handed top health and safety honours

Published:  18 July, 2018

Four drivers from Staffordshire have been presented with prestigious health and safety awards, given only to those who have gone above and beyond to protect the wellbeing of others.

In an unprecedented first, four individuals from the same organisation have received RoSPA Archangel Awards – Stef Buckley, Vince Keeling, Paul Rowley and, in a special posthumous award, Robbie Forrester – in recognition of their outstanding acts of bravery performed while working for Wincanton on the company’s Screwfix contract.

Stef Buckley, of Cannock, was delivering to York when he heard a scream and saw a cyclist struck by a lorry. He rushed to the scene and found the woman had a significant leg injury. He managed to stop the bleeding and keep the cyclist conscious until the emergency services arrived. The cyclist was 16 weeks pregnant, and Stef later received news that the baby had survived, and that medical teams were able to save the cyclist’s injured leg.

While on the A1, Vince Keeling, of Leek, came across an overturned HGV. Vince stopped his own vehicle and climbed up the overturned cab to get inside. He found the driver unconscious and remained with him, taking care of him until the emergency services arrived. The driver had suffered a suspected heart attack. Vince went above beyond to help protect the life of a complete stranger.

While driving to work on the A34, Paul Rowley, of Stoke-on-Trent, spotted someone lying at the side of the road. He called the emergency services and the paramedic gave guidance over the phone on what first aid action to take. The individual had suffered a stroke and the emergency services advised that Paul's actions had helped to save the person’s life.

Robbie Forrester, who lived in Stafford, was on the M40 when he met a damaged car facing the wrong way in the middle lane. The driver was clearly in shock, and was posing a risk to himself as he was trying to put up a warning triangle in the live carriageway. Robbie manoeuvred his truck and trailer, protecting the man from the traffic. While doing this, he also found a woman lying in the middle of road, with cars still driving around her. The emergency services arrived and took control. The driver of the car contacted Robbie’s depot to express gratitude for his quick thinking. His partner – who had been found on the road – made a full recovery, having been sheltered from further injury.

The four were celebrated at a gala dinner at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole on Thursday, July 5. Sadly, Robbie passed away at the end of 2016, so his award was collected by Claire Bowden, who nominated the quartet, on his behalf.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “These four incredible stories demonstrate extreme courage and selflessness, and the individuals involved embody real care for the wellbeing of others – something the health and safety industry is all about. We were extremely pleased and honoured to recognise them at the RoSPA Awards.

“Not only did they have a huge impact on those directly affected by these incidents, but they have also been an inspiration to the whole driver team at Wincanton, which is now looking into ‘Driver First Assist’ training – vital life-saving advice for those arriving first at the scene of an accident.”

Dean Clamp, group HSEQ director at Wincanton, said: “All of us at Wincanton are extremely proud of these colleagues and their selfless actions which have saved lives. These drivers are not only assets to our business, but also to the wider community and I commend each of them for their level-headed and quick-thinking actions in these extremely stressful situations. They have all gone above and beyond and are fantastic examples of the community spirit and professionalism we see across the driver population.”

Part of the RoSPA Guardian Angel Awards scheme, the Archangel Award is a prestigious accolade granted to individuals that go above and beyond the call of duty to protect the lives and wellbeing of others.

Following the presentations in Birmingham last week, and also in London in June, further Guardian Angel Awards will be presented in Glasgow in September. The awards are made as part of the annual RoSPA Health and Safety Awards.

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