Crawley community wardens who helped stop two young people from taking their own lives have won praise.
Wardens Christopher Oakley and Stuart Adesilu were called to help civil enforcement officers remove a couple from the roof of Orchard Street Car Park on August 18.
A council spokesman said: “What started out as a normal Saturday for two of Crawley Borough Council’s community wardens ended with them preventing two young people from taking their own lives.”
Chris Oakley said: “The couple were sat on the roof drinking and refusing to leave. So we attended with the intention of seizing their alcohol and asking them to move on, which is fairly standard procedure.”
However, the couple would not leave.
The council spokesman said: “After a short conversation, the situation soon escalated when the male mentioned that his brother had taken his own life, turning an ordinary call-out for the wardens into a situation with a potentially life-changing ending.”
Chris added: “We could see he was suffering and started to cry, saying he wanted to join his brother.”
The wardens tried reasoning with him, urging him to use a helpline and talk to someone.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend walked to the other end of the roof. Stuart Adesilu followed to make sure she was OK.
After five minutes of talking, the young man attempted to jump off the roof of the car park, said the spokesman.
He added: “Thankfully Chris leapt into action, grabbing the young man’s ankle, using his weight to pull him back, calling for Stuart’s assistance.
“Witnessing the scene, however, caused the female to also attempt to take her own life. Stuart quickly prevented this from happening, moving her to safety.”
Police were called and detained the couple.
Councillor Perter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “This story could have had a very different ending if it had not been for the quick actions of Chris and Stuart. They showed great compassion and care in a very difficult situation and I am proud to have them as part of the team here at Crawley Borough Council.”
Chris and Stuart’s actions were recognised by the council for their exceptional handling of a very sensitive situation.
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They say: “If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.”