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Pride in Medway: Gareth Acres and Billy McPhail nominated after saving the life Barbara Smith at Strood station

By Lynn Cox

Two heroes who saved a woman’s life after she tripped and fell on a railway line are the first nominees for the latest Pride in Medway awards.

Gareth Acres and Billy McPhail acted with no thought of the danger to themselves when they sprang into action at Strood station after Barbara Smith fell on the track just as a high speed train was pulling into the station.

The train was just feet away as she tumbled running to catch it but Gareth Acres and Billy McPhail sprang into action with no thought of the danger.

Billy McPhail outside Strood Railway Station
Billy McPhail outside Strood Railway Station

Mr McPhail, 26, a soldier who lives in Essex but was visiting family, jumped on the track first and ran across both lines to reach Mrs Smith, who had broken her ankle.

Mr Acres, 30, a dad of one, realised what was happening as he saw people peering at the track and joined Mr McPhail to help rescue the injured Mrs Smith.

Other commuters on the platform alerted station staff who warned all train drivers heading for the station to slow down.

Others also helped and between them they managed to lift and push her back onto the platform to safety just moments before the train arrived.

Gareth Acres at home in Strood
Gareth Acres at home in Strood

Mrs Smith is still off work recovering but this week nominated the brave pair for a Pride in Medway award in the heroes category.

Speaking from her home in Strood this week, she said: “I just owe my life to those boys.

“If it was not for them I would not be here to tell the tale and I wanted to thank them very much for what they did, so I’m nominating them for this award.”

Mr Acres, of Lancelot Avenue, Strood, said: “It’s very nice of her to nominate us. It was not needed but very nice.

Mr McPhail added: “I would just like to say thank you very much to Barbara for the nomination.

“It’s a real pleasure to be nominated and I just wish her a speedy recovery and all the best for the future.”

  • To nominate your unsung hero, pick up a form in the Medway Messenger each week or download one atwww.pridein.co.uk/
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