Security operative saves suicidal man on Great Yarmouth beach

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Christopher Church, 37, of Lowestoft, was patrolling the construction site on the night of 20 September when two passers-by alerted him to a man with a stab wound to his neck. He spotted the man and called out to him as he ran towards the beach. Christopher shone his torch light and saw him running into the sea. Immediately, he went after him.

Christopher is an SIA licensed door supervisor. He is being featured in our #SIAHeroes​ campaign because of his life saving actions. The campaign highlights the efforts that security operatives are making to serve their communities across the UK and most recently, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Christopher realised that the man was attempting suicide, and persuaded him to walk out of the sea. He was still holding the blade, but Christopher managed to keep him calm and give him life-saving first aid. At this point a passer-by came over and called the emergency services. Christopher stayed with the man until he was taken to hospital.

When we spoke to Christopher, he said:

I tried to calm the man down. He was in an agitated state, but I successfully convinced him that I was there to help him. The whole thing was pretty terrifying. As he made his way towards me I could see that there was a lot of blood, which was pouring from his neck wound.

When he came out of the sea I took hold of him, laid him down on the beach, and put direct pressure onto the wound. I held his head and neck with one hand, and applied pressure to the wound with the other. I kept talking to him to keep him conscious.

The emergency services arrived at about 10.30pm, removed the man’s wet clothes, and wrapped him in a thermal blanket. He was put onto a stretcher and taken to the ambulance while he held Christopher’s hand.

Christopher added:

He kept thanking me and telling me I’d saved his life. The patient is still in hospital and is now in a stable condition. You can’t really prepare for these things until they hit you, but I knew what I was doing because of my first aid training.

After the incident Chris went back to work until his shift ended at six the following morning.

Chris is qualified in Emergency First Aid at Work, and is an HM Coastguard on-call volunteer.

Adam Harding, director of the site’s security company, Phoenix Events, said:

I’m so proud of Chris for what he did that night. He’d have been well within his rights just to call the ambulance and wait for them to arrive, but he didn’t. He saved a man’s life.

There are over 400,000 licensed security operatives in the UK, and like Chris many continue to work as critical workers and keyworkers, guarding hospitals, sheltered accommodation, supporting social distancing in supermarkets, and other essential operations.

Ian Todd, our Chief Executive, said:

It’s important to remember that many in the security industry are working as critical and key workers during this emergency. Christopher’s story is testament to the fact that despite the challenges, many operatives and businesses are going the extra mile to serve their communities”.

The SIA is promoting the industry’s dedication and commitment through the #SIAHeroes campaign. It is sharing inspiring stories of security operatives who are keeping the public safe and secure at this critical time.

Read all of our #SIAHeroes stories online here.

Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Our main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (SIAuk).​​​​​​​​​​​

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