Top award for hero cop who saved Welwyn woman's life

Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society

Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society – “He did a magnificent job in harrowing circumstances and richly deserves the award he is to receive.” - Credit: RHS

A local police officer who saved the life of a  woman who tried to hang herself at her Welwyn home has been awarded a top national life-saving honour.

PC Richard Gumbrill was called to the woman’s home by her former partner after he received messages suggesting she was planning to take her own life.

When the ex-partner arrived at her home he found a series of notes indicating that she had carried out her intent and he called the police. He was scared to check the property out for fear of what he would find.

After searching the property upon arrival PC Gumbrill found the woman in a first floor bedroom. She was blue in the face and unresponsive having taken steps to end her life.

He acted immediately to aid her and administered first aid which enabled the woman to begin breathing again. He then remained with her providing re-assurance until paramedics arrived to take her to hospital.

PC Gumbrill has now been awarded a Royal Humane Society Certificate of Commendation and has also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Society.

“Without doubt this woman would almost certainly have died if PC Gumbrill had not reached the scene when he did and taken the action he took,” said Mr Chapman.

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“He did a magnificent job in harrowing circumstances and richly deserves the award he is to receive.”

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day's eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life and need someone to talk to, contact the Samaritans by phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email jo@samaritans.org, in confidence.