Published: 06:00, 26 November 2020
| Updated: 06:28, 26 November 2020
Six teenagers who bravely saved the life of a suicidal young man at a train station have been personally thanked by the Rail Minister.
The young friends had been waiting for a train in Herne Bay, when they noticed an 18-year-old on the opposite side of the tracks, standing close to the platform's edge.
Realising he was in distress, they rushed to his aid, physically preventing him from stepping in front of an oncoming train.
KentOnline tracked down each of the six youngsters involved in saving the man's life, revealing them to be: Herne Bay High School pupils Madison Kendall and Eleanor Wood, both 15; Tia Hancock, 16, who attends Canterbury College; Chloe Skinsley, also 16, who attends Broadstairs College; and Jack Williams and Kyle Pattison, both 17-year-old Sheppey College students from Sheerness.
Minister of State for Transport, MP Chris Heaton-Harris has now written to each of them to express his gratitude for their "bravery and compassion".
"As Rail Minister, I hear too often of heart-breaking stories of suicide on our railways," he wrote.
"To read about the kindness and consideration you showed is an inspiration at a time when the country most needs people who are willing to support others.
"It takes enormous courage to act so quickly and selflessly, to reach out to a stranger and offer support.
"I hope you and your friends feel immense pride in your actions."
Managing director of rail firm Southeastern, David Statham has also personally thanked the youngsters for helping to prevent a tragedy.
In recognition of their "heroic efforts", he awarded each teenager with a £50 voucher to use on rail travel once Covid-19 restrictions ease.
The mum of the young man saved that day, from Minster in Thanet, says she is glad to see the group's actions recognised.
"We're more than thankful to the teenagers," she said. "And congratulations on what's been done - they deserve everything they can get.
"They saved my son's life."
She says her son is "doing better", but has expressed concerns over the availability of ongoing mental health care.
“Last year was a very bad year for him - he had multiple suicide attempts. It was only us that stopped him sometimes,” she said.
“But he has improved. He is getting there - most of it is by himself, through his own willpower and his family.”
For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time or click here to visit the website.