Sheffield heroes save man from freezing to death

'Hero' grandparents John and Janet Newton
'Hero' grandparents John and Janet Newton
Have your say

Two Sheffield grandparents have been hailed as heroes for saving the life of a man they found semi-conscious in the snow.

John and Janet Newton, of Rotherham Road, Halfway, are to receive national awards for their actions.

The couple were driving to their grandson Morgan’s birthday party when they spotted a man lying in snow at the side of the road.

They pulled up to find the man intoxicated and semi-conscious, wearing just a thin shirt and a pair of trousers.

He was unable to stand, or even sit but the couple managed to get him to their car, wrap him in a blanket and keep him talking for 40 minutes until help arrived.

Mr Newton, aged 62, said: “He certainly wasn’t dressed for the elements and our first thought was we needed to get him up off the floor, which was thick with snow.

“It was tough to get him up, as he was a tall man, but we did manage to get him to our car where we wrapped him up and phoned for an ambulance.”

However, the couple were told no ambulances were available and they would have to wait.

They stayed with the man for 40 minutes until help arrived.

Mrs Newton, 61, said: “We weren’t too wrapped up ourselves and it was bitterly cold.

“A jogger stopped to help for a little while, but he quickly got too cold and had to keep going.

“All we could think was we needed to keep the man warm and keep him talking.

“We kept chatting to him and, although he wasn’t terribly coherent, he was responsive, which was encouraging.”

The pair are now to receive Royal Humane Society certificates of commendation, following their lifesaving action on Saturday, March 23.

Dick Wilkinson, society secretary, said there was no doubt the pair saved the man’s life.

He said: “Had they not happened upon him, and treated him with such kindness, he would surely have died in the snow.

“They richly deserve these awards. They were true Good Samaritans who were in the right place at the right time.

“It was below freezing that night, with a windchill factor sending temperatures between -5C and -10C. It was getting dark and snowing and there were hardly any other cars on the road.”

No date has yet been fixed for the presentation of the awards, made on the recommendation of South Yorkshire Police.

Chief Inspector Caroline Rollitt, of South Yorkshire Police, who nominated the couple for the award, said: “Once the man got to hospital, paramedics revealed his core body temperature had dropped very low.

“We want to thank Mr and Mrs Newton for coming to the man’s aid. If they hadn’t stopped when they did, things might have had a much worse outcome.”

Mrs Newton said: “We like to think it’s only what anyone would have done in the same situation. You don’t leave people.

“If we see someone lying at the side of the road, of course we’re going to help. We’d never have thought of just leaving him and driving on by.”