Hassocks ‘lifesaver’ helps suicidal man at railway station

A lifesaving Hassocks railway worker convinced a suicidal man not to jump front of a train.

Matt Lenton
Matt Lenton

After a busy shift at Christmas, Southern Rail neighbourhood officer Matt Lenton saw a man who was about to take his own life.

Despite having finished work, Matt approached the man, moved him to a safe location and for hours talked through the man’s issues which led to his planned suicide.

Matt took the man home, ensured he had support and gave him his personal mobile number to contact Matt anytime if he was in distress.

The man wrote to Southern with details of the incident, praising Matt for his actions.

Southern Railway explained that without Matt’s dedication to others it’s highly likely that the man would have committed suicide.

To commend his response, Matt won Samaritans Lifesaver award at the national Rail Staff Awards on Saturday, to add to an Outstanding Personal Contribution award at the National Rail Awards.

Matt not only saved a man’s life, but the distress of a driver and passengers.

Another Southern employee, Clare Williams, was commended with the Rail Safety Person of the Year award.

Clare, who was a station group manager, developed TACT-ICS, an acronym which describes the key points to look for in a potentially suicidal individual, as well as a reminder of the steps to take in the situation.

By working with the community safety manager for Network Rail, a simple wallet sized reminder card, as well as posters, were produced and Clare arranged for these to be included in Southern’s team brief process, helping to offer support to widespread teams.

Clare’s hard work lead to Network Rail funding the production of 1,500 credit card style reminders, posters and training material.

Clare arranged for these to be delivered to every member of Southern station staff.