Two Houghton Regis women who became life saving heroines during a Saturday night horror incident in Luton town centre last November have been awarded top national life-saving and bravery honours.
Rigerta Ahmetaj, 26, and Clare Copleston, 38, were volunteer staff on a community programme and were first on the scene after a call that a man had been stabbed in the neck.
When they reached the scene in Manchester Street at nearly 12.30am on November 17 last year they were confronted with a bloodbath.
A vein in the victim’s neck had been severed and he was bleeding profusely. They immediately went to his aid even though the knife man might have been close by and could have launched a new attack.
They began monitoring his vital signs, Clare applied pressure to the wound and then used a medical kit to try and stop the bleeding. They both cared for him waiting for help to arrive.
Armed police arrived at the scene and secured the site and they were followed by paramedics who asked Clare and Rigerta to keep pressure on the wound while they prepared the man for an ambulance. He was taken to hospital and went on to make a full recovery.
Now the two women have been awarded Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Parchment for preventing the man from bleeding to death and for their bravery in attending to him despite the risk the knife-man might attack again.
They have also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.
Speaking at the society’s London headquarters as he announced the award he said: “This was a volatile situation. It was Saturday night in Luton town centre and no-one knew what had happened to the knife man.
“He could have been close by and have attacked Clare and Rigerta. But their only thought was for the victim and almost certainly they saved his life. He was bleeding profusely and would have bled to death without treatment. They are true heroines and richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”
No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards but it is expected to take place in the near future.
The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. The Queen is its patron and its president is Princess Alexandra. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.
It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.
However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.
The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 87,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The Society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.
It was one of a select number of organisations to receive a donation from the Patron’s fund which was set up to acknowledge work done by organisations of which the Queen is the patron, to mark her 90th birthday.