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Helping others

Target Group

Key Stage 1


One his way home from school one day, 15-year old Michael Jennings saw an elderly man being knocked down by a bus. He used his mobile phone to call for help and then stayed with the injured man until the ambulance arrived

Michael Jennings after receiving his RHS  ParchmentMichael Jennings, Wigan

15-year old Michael Jennings was walking through Wigan bus station on his way home from school when a terrible accident happened right in front of him. An elderly man, walking on a pedestrian crossing, was hit by a bus turning the corner.

Young Michael had seen the bus in the nick of time and had stepped back, but the old man, 91-year old James Cheers, was not so lucky. He now lay seriously injured underneath the bus.

'I had my mobile with me,' recalls Michael, 'so I immediately called the ambulance.' 'Then I got under the bus to see if I could do anything - not knowing what I'd find. But the old man was alive, was conscious and was breathing. 'I knew I couldn't drag him out. I wouldn't have been strong enough, but I knew from first aid lessons not to move anyone who's injured - you could make things worse.'

'So, continues Michael, 'we just started chatting. He was a nice old chap. He told me he'd just bought a new fridge. I asked him if he wanted me to ring anyone and he said, yes, his son and daughter-in-law - he could even remember their number.'

But when Michael dialled the number, there was no-one in and he had to leave a message. Mr Cheers's son, Tony, takes up the story.

'He just asked us not to be shocked but said my father had been involved in an accident. The ambulance was on its way and he was being looked after. We had no idea at that stage that Michael was just 15.'

After leaving the message, Michael went back to James Cheers, staying with him under the bus and talking to him until the emergency services arrived.

Two days later, James Cheers died of his injuries, but his son remains thankful for what Michael did. 'We're just very grateful that someone was there to help,' Tony Cheers says. Without any thought other than to help my father, Michael stopped. It was very compassionate - and very brave.'

From his hospital bed, James Cheers had been able to talk to his family about 'a young man' who'd helped him and who'd been good to him.

Tony Cheers and the Greater Manchester Police both nominated Michael for a Royal Humane Society award. He won a Testimonial on Parchment.

Michael also received a number of other awards, including a highly-prized Chief Constable's Commendation. He himself is surprised by all the fuss and thinks anyone would do what he did.

'There was someone else in need,' he says, 'so you just do it. Something bad had happened to someone else and you have to help out.'

As a result of his contact with the police, Michael became first a volunteer cadet, then a senior cadet, then a Special Constable. Now he is a fully trained Police Constable with the Greater Manchester Police.

All this has come about because he stopped to help a total stranger at the scene of an accident.

Michael's advice to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation is simple: 'Be there for someone else.'

Class discussion:

  • How did Michael help the injured man?
  • Why is it important to keep talking to someone who has been injured?
  • Think about road safety. What are the rules for crossing roads?
  • What would you do if you saw someone knocked down by a bus or car?
  • What number do you call for the emergency services?


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