Act of kindness sees highways workers honoured in national awards

This story was published 22 December 2022

The swift actions of four highways workers who came to the aid of a lady in distress in North Yorkshire have seen them honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

Four NY Now colleagues with their medals.

NY Highways staff Gary Toone, Eddie Smith, Darran Saunders and Martin MacCallaugh won the Personal Impact medal at the Highways Heroes Awards 2022. 

On a rainy morning on June 8, 2022, the team were carrying out drainage works in Scarborough when a lady lost her balance, stumbled and fell heavily on the footway opposite.

When Gary approached to check on the woman, it was clear that she was bleeding and in a lot of pain, so he immediately rang for an ambulance.

The NY Highways staff provided reassurance during the wait and kept her warm with coats under her back and shoulders. They also tried to keep her injured leg comfortable by supporting it with something soft as it started to swell.

After about 30 minutes, the woman became unconscious and they were concerned about her breathing, so called the emergency services again. The operator relayed advice and told Eddie Smith that a defibrillator may be required and supplied a code to get one from a nearby location.

Luckily, the ambulance soon arrived and medics took charge of the situation. The casualty regained consciousness and was able to speak to them and the NY Highways staff were thanked by the paramedics.

Gary Toone said: “Myself, Darran, Eddie and Martin were surprised and thrilled to be shortlisted for a Highways Heroes award. To go to London and be recognised for our efforts, each receiving a Personal Impact award, was the ‘icing on the cake’.

“The vital first aid training myself and the team have received at NY Highways came in very useful on the day, helping us to act calmly and safely with the injured woman. With this training, I am confident that most employees of NY Highways would have done the same thing if presented with the same situation.”

The Highways Heroes awards, which were staged at The Grosvenor House hotel in London’s Park Lane this month (December), recognised those who have gone above and beyond their duty to help the communities they work in or to support fellow workers in their team.

Executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “We are incredibly proud of the four men who went out of their way to help a stranger in need. Their quick actions and due diligence in helping an injured pedestrian demonstrates their eagerness in going above and beyond their duties in order to help others.”

NY Highways was created in June last year to give North Yorkshire County Council greater control and flexibility over its delivery of services while managing the largest network of roads overseen by a local authority in England. 

The managing director of NY Highways, Jamie Crumlish, said: “I’d like to say a huge congratulations to our dedicated highways workers on receiving this award.

“They were put in a pressured situation but worked together to make sure the lady was comfortable while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. This award is important in highlighting the good deeds that normally go unnoticed.”