TWO men are to receive national life-saving awards after helping save a teenage cyclist who suffered horrific head injuries after hitting a dry stone wall descending the Lake District’s highest mountain pass without wearing a helmet.
Lake District brewery owner Chris Tomlinson, 43, of Long Marton near Appleby, and fireman James Taylor, 41, of Essex, are both to receive commendations from the Royal Humane Society following the accident on the A592 Kirkstone Pass on August 7.
The accident left Jack Pollock, then 15, of nearby Glenridding, so badly injured that the society said skin was torn from his skull and his brain was exposed.
He was released from hospital on September 19 and he has returned to his studies at Ullswater Community College on a two-and-a-half day a week basis, but is otherwise on the mend.
Dick Wilkinson, Royal Humane Society secretary, explained: “These two men were faced with a horrific scene as this young man suffered a smashed skull."
“Jack had fallen off his bicycle at speed and his helmetless head hit the dry stone wall bordering the road several times.”
Mr Tomlinson, 43, who runs the Tirril Brewery, was delivering beer to the Kirkstone Pass Inn and on his descent when he came across the scene, having been concerned by the speed Jack and a friend were gathering as they sped down the twisting pass.
He and Mr Taylor tried to comfort Jack and keep him warm, using Mr Taylor’s clothes, beer towels and an old curtain.
Mr Tomlinson said this week: “It was like something out of a horror film. After the air ambulance took him away I thought it would be a miracle if he pulled through. It’s a surprise to find out about the award but you do what you do on the day and my reward is to know he’s doing well.”
The father-of-four said it had changed his attitude to wearing helmets while cycling.
“I came home that day and told the whole family: ‘We’re never going out without them again’.”
Outlinining the reason for the award, Mr Wilkinson said: “They did all they could to keep him warm, to keep his airway open and to stem his bleeding until paramedics arrived by air.
“They incubated the victim and flew him to hospital. There is little doubt, though, that Mr Taylor and Mr Tomlinson made the difference between life and death in their swift first aid.”