The phone call that saved a life

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A QUICK-THINKING grandmother turned life-saver after receiving an unusual phone call.

Pensioner Bicky Howard has been praised by police after coming to the rescue of a stranger who had suffered a stroke.

Mrs Howard was going about her normal business at her Morpeth home one Sunday when the phone rang.

The caller was unclear, but Mrs Howard recognised that it was an older woman and stayed on the line. She realised that something was wrong and was able to obtain the caller’s name and address, while trying to keep her calm.

She then contacted police and officers attended the address to find that the occupant, a pensioner, had suffered a stroke and was lying on the floor. Officers broke down the door and the woman was taken to hospital.

Mrs Howard said: “It just came out of the blue. It was about 5pm when the phone rang. Normally I wouldn’t answer it because I get a lot of rubbish calls, but I thought it might be a relative.

“The lady was very confused, her words were all mixed up and her speech was slurred so I had an idea of what was wrong.

“I gave her time to try to sort herself out and I asked if she needed help. She said she wasn’t feeling well so I asked her name and where she lived. I told her to sit down, not to worry and I would get help as soon as I could.

“When I came off the phone I didn’t know whether to ring 999. I had a number for the police in my phone book, but it was an old one so I rang my grandson and explained what had happened and he gave me the 101 number.

“I rang that and explained everything and the woman on the phone said she would sort it out. It could only have been ten or 15 minutes later when the police were on the phone to say they had found the woman and the paramedics were with her.

The police came at about 9pm that night to tell me that the woman had been admitted to hospital and she had had a stroke.

“They told me I could have called 999, but I’ve never phoned the police before in my life.

“When I came off the phone from the woman I was like the man from Dad’s Army, thinking ‘don’t panic, don’t panic’. I’m 75 myself so it took me a couple of days to calm down.”

Mrs Howard, who lives in Kirkhill, has now been told that the woman made a full recovery and has returned home.

She also learned that the woman had tried to contact her neighbour, but was unable to get through so rang other numbers seeking help.

Mrs Howard said: “It was quick-thinking from the woman to ring for help. It is awful to think that somebody could have been lying on the floor all night like that.

“I was so worried about her because I had heard nothing, but last week the police came and told me the lady was back home. As long as she’s home and feeling better that’s the main thing.

“I can always keep it in mind now that I might have saved somebody’s life.”

Morpeth Police Inspector Dave Simpson praised Mrs Howard’s clear thinking over the incident on July 28.

He said: “Mrs Howard took the sensible option in phoning 101 straight away. If there is an emergency or life-threatening situation people can contact us on 999, but Mrs Howard should be praised for her actions.”

The woman who called Mrs Howard does not wish to be identified, but she has passed on her thanks.