A mother-of-two helped prevent someone jumping from a horrendously high bridge near Huddersfield ... for the second time.
Gemma Littley, 36, was presented with a police award for her role in helping to rescue a woman in her 20s who had climbed over the barrier and was edging along Scammonden bridge high above the M62.
The incident last May was the second time Gemma has helped someone threatening to jump from the 120ft-high structure, also known as Rainbow Bridge.
On the fist occasion Gemma phoned for the police while her partner, James Cook, 40, stayed with a man who was on the wrong side of the barrier.
The latest drama unfolded as Gemma – with her two daughters asleep in the car – was driving back home from her parents’ home in Greetland.
She said: “I was driving over the bridge and noticed a young lady standing on the other side of the barrier. I turned the car round and parked up next to her and spoke to her. She said she wanted to be left alone and said she had nothing to live for.
“Lots of people drove past in their cars and no-one was stopping. Eventually, a car approached me. The driver went past, but drove back and got out. He helped me hold onto the woman and prevent her going any further along the bridge.
“I took the opportunity to go to my car and phone the police. I told them what was going on and where we were. It felt like a long time before the police arrived.”
The driver who stopped turned out to be an off-duty police officer, Insp Chris Norbury, who subsequently nominated Gemma for the award.
She was presented with her District Chief Superintendent’s Commendation certificate by Chief Supt Steven Cotter at the Kirklees District Commander’s Awards held at the University of Huddersfield.
During those desperate minutes on the bridge before Insp Norbury arrived on the scene Gemma said she tried to use her own experiences in speaking to the woman.
Almost four years ago, Gemma and James were left devastated by the loss their son Dexter, who died from a rare generic condition just a few weeks after his first birthday.
Recalling her conversation with the woman, Gemma said: “She was adamant that she wanted to be left alone. She told me a few of her problems. I tried to persuade her it was not a good idea.
“I tried to use my own personal experiences to help her. I told her I understood where she was coming from, but that life can get better. There’s always another way and there are always people who care about her.”
Gemma said: “It might only have been five or 10 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.
“I don’t really feel like a heroine. A lot of people would have done the same.”
She added: “I would like to know how she is doing now. She said she had long-standing problems that had not been resolved over a number of years.”
Gemma, who hails from Greetland, and James. formerly of Salendine Nook, now live in Oldham with daughters Tabitha, who is almost three, and 20-month-old Heidi.
Scammonden Bridge has been the scene of several suicides over the years and there are warning signs on the bridge with contact numbers for the Samaritans.