Public Services student recognised by Met for saving man after fall from bus

A Public Services student at City and Islington College (CANDI) has received a Commander’s Commendation by the Metropolitan Police after saving a man who fell from a bus.

Met Police cadet Deontay Campbell-Taylor-Ming, 17, administered first aid to the man and stayed with him for an hour until paramedics arrived to take him to hospital.

Deontay was recognised for his professionalism and bravery and presented with the award at a ceremony at the Tower of London. He was also shortlisted for a Metropolitan Police Excellence Award.

He recalled how he was on his way home to Tower Hamlets last December when he spotted a crowd clustered around a man lying on the ground, but no one was helping.

“The man had fallen from the bottom step and hit his head on the pavement. There wasn’t much blood but there was a large bump,” he said.

“He was also complaining of abdominal pain, so I did a primary survey, checked his airways were clear and that his breathing was regular. I put him in the recovery position and got someone in the crowd to call an ambulance.”

When he heard there would be an hour wait, Deontay recognised the need for a defibrillator and flagged down a police car and carried out a full handover to the officers.

The officers at the scene described Deontay’s intervention and handling of the situation as “exceptional.”

Deontay joined the Met Police’s volunteer cadet programme at the age of 10 after officers visited his primary school, St Paul with St Luke in Bow. He is now a Team Leader and still attends weekly sessions on first aid, legislation and procedure and fitness.

He said his cadet training along with the skills and knowledge he had gained on his Public Services diploma, had given him the confidence to step up when others hesitated.

Deontay said: “I am not really surprised that people stand about watching rather than helping. For many people my age their first reaction is to get their phone out to record it rather than getting involved.

“If first aid training was an option, more people would know what to do.”

Deontay said his actions on the day were “second nature” and thinks first aid lessons should be an option for all school pupils.

“I think personally it is all about confidence. You build it up, so when you have to you intrinsically want to help,” he said.

Deontay attended the awards ceremony with his family who he said were “delighted” that his initiative and decisive action had been rewarded.

PC Reece Buckley, Cadet Co-ordinator for the Central East Command Unit said: “Deontay has spent a number of years with us in which we have watched him grow in confidence and in leadership. In this situation, Deontay launched into action, remembering his Cadet training, when everyone else stood by.”

Nigel Lewis, Curriculum Leader for Public Services at CANDI, himself a former Met Police officer, said Deontay’s award was well-deserved.

He said: “Through his college and police cadet work Deontay is knowledgeable about police practice and procedure and very conscientious. He has volunteered to police many community events and is the sort of person who would do very well in a public services role.”

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‘The only person that can tell an individual they can’t do something is themselves’

John Poulter was paralysed in a work accident and spent 14 years in recovery. Here he tells his inspiring story about how the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) gave him the chance to train as an electrician and run his own business.

John Poulter was 42 when his life changed forever.

The father of three was paralysed from the waist down when a forklift driver dropped a heavy pallet on his lower back when he was working as an HGV driver in August 2007.

John said: “I was dropping off a delivery. The forklift driver came out and the first two pallets came off without a problem. He then got a call on his mobile and while he was talking, he hit the tilt button and my life as I knew it ended.”

John’s recovery took 14 years, and he is now an electrician with his own business after training at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Prior to the accident, John, now 56, had worked as a butcher and served in the British Army in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Germany, Korea and the first Gulf War.

He was by his own definition “a man mountain” who would spend every spare moment when he was not working at the gym.

He said: “I had heavy muscle build and was still disciplined after coming out of the Army and wanted to develop myself. At weekends I was weight training and free running up and down hills with air cylinders and kegs to build up my cardio and breaking all my personal bests.”

John was airlifted to the Royal Surrey County Hospital and then transferred to the Royal London Hospital where he underwent two operations and then to a spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire over the next four weeks.

He then spent the next 18 months at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and over the following 12 years continued to undergo surgery and rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville.

“Those were the darkest days of my life,” said John.

“I was very angry and the most bitter, twisted individual you could come across. When I first got a wheelchair, I kept asking myself why am I sitting in it, why am I going through this, why me?”

John married his wife Adrienne a year before leaving the Army. They had two sons Craig and Perry and a daughter Becky who were teenagers at the time of the accident.

“I think the impact on them was more than it was on me,” he said.

“My wife has stuck by me through thick and thin. She was hard as nails and straight-faced on the outside but broken on the inside. She never let her appearance show her weakness and that’s what kept me going.”

Medical and psychiatric teams at Stoke Mandeville helped John to overcome his negativity and supported him throughout his recovery.

“My psychotherapist reprogrammed my way of thinking. It took two to three months to trust her and from there we moved forward all the time. Everything in my brain was saying what can I do? I had so much energy but nowhere to divert it,” he said.

In 2015, while John was living and still undergoing therapy in Buckinghamshire, his doctors asked him what he wanted to do next and suggested he go to college.

He began applying for electrical courses and was turned down by 44 colleges across the UK before being accepted and offered a place at CONEL.

He said: “I kept get red flagged all the time, college after college. Then CONEL took me on the assumption if I prove I can do it, they will put the building blocks in place for me. I told them if you tell or show me something, I’ll soak it up like a sponge and will achieve good results.”

John moved to Tottenham and went on to complete two Electrical Installations diplomas with Distinction at CONEL and became an advocate for diversity and inclusion at the college.

It was something of a homecoming for John who was born and grew up in nearby Enfield.

John said: “I can’t fault anything about CONEL. If it wasn’t for the college, I wouldn’t have moved forward. Everyone at CONEL treated me with dignity and has got my respect for the simple reason they opened one door, and every door after that has followed.”

Towards the end of his time at CONEL John launched his own business, JRP Electrical. He is currently studying for a Level 4 electrical qualification while also giving his time to help and inspire the next generation of electricians at the college.

He runs his business with Adrienne and son Perry, providing the tendering, design and contracting of electrical works for domestic and large developments. When visiting sites he uses ramps, chairlifts, cherry pickers and creepers to aid his mobility.

Earlier this year John met Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the launch of the Mayor’s Academies Programme, a £44 million investment to provide free skills training to get people into work and boost the capital’s recovery from the COVID pandemic.

CONEL secured £250,000 to run a Green Academy Hub that is working with employers to create training opportunities in the construction and green industries.

“The only person that can tell an individual they can’t do something, is themselves,” he said.

“I don’t admit failure, I never have done. I’ve always given everything 100 per cent commitment and looked at my results and thought can I do better.

“You can and will overcome the challenges you will face. Keep pushing because you will get there in the end. Your best days are not behind you, they are yet to come.”

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