It takes special people to put themselves in danger to help others. Without thinking, that's exactly what a husband-and-wife team did in saving the life of 17-year-old girl, while another man didn't think twice in pulling a driver from a burning car. But what makes people carry out such daring acts of courage? ALAN PATTINSON reports.
TO risk your life for someone you know is brave enough, but to put yourself in danger for someone you have never even met before is truly courageous.
At least that's what Lee Oulton thought when he voted for his parents in a Weekly News com -petition, and also what deputy fire chief Keith Newnes believed when he voted for Peter Sproston in the Life Savers Awards.
The Weekly News, in conjunction with the Vodafone Life Savers Awards, last month invited readers to recognise the bravery of ordinary citizens and invited them to nominate their inspirations, whether they be friends, family or colleagues.
The Oulton family, who saved the life of a 17-year-old girl on the run from a children's home, came out deserved winners and will receive a Vodofone Live! mobile with built-in camera.
Frodsham couple Alan and Lorraine Oulton's story began when, earlier this year, they were fighting their way through snow on the Woodhead Pass Pennine road at 10.25pm. Lorraine said that she was sure she had seen a body lying at the side of the road.
At first Alan was unconvinced, saying it was probably rubbish that had fallen off a wagon.
But Lorraine was insistent and they headed back to find a teenage girl lying in the grass.
In nominating his parents, Lee Oulton wrote: 'At first mum and dad were concerned in case it was set-up, but mum wound down the window and shouted to the girl. With no response from her, dad phoned 999 from his mobile while mum dealt with the girl, who was unconscious by this stage.'
Luckily the Oultons knew first-aid - Alan from his work with the Cheshire Fire Service and Lorraine from her job as a swimming teacher at the Beechwood Centre, Runcorn. While Lorraine checked the girl's pulse and cleared her airways, Alan parked the car across the road to protect the girl and turned on his hazard lights.
Speaking shortly after the incident, Lorraine said: 'I was surprisingly calm. If I had been on my own I would have been terrified.
'We got no response, to be honest we both thought she was dead. She was really white and wasn't moving.'
The couple had a foil blanket, travel rug and golfing umbrella with them which they used to protect the girl from the extremely low temperatures.
As the incident happened in Crow End, one of the most secluded spots in the Peak District, it took the ambulances 45 minutes to reach her.
The paramedics said the girl would probably have died of hypothermia if the Oultons had not come to her rescue.
Lee Oulton ended his letter by saying: 'Well done mum and dad, we are proud of you.'
Peter Sproston, who comes from Chester, was just pipped at the post for our regional Life Savers Award after helping a driver involved in a car crash in August last year.
The impact of the accident meant the car had been turned upside down and suffered a petrol leak, while the driver remained trapped inside.
Despite the threat of fire, Peter talked to the driver and saved his life by pulling him out through the car window.
Peter was later one of 12 citizens given a Meritorious Actions Award by Cheshire Fire Service for bravery.
Father-of-two Peter, who works as head greenkeeper at Sutton Golf Club, Sutton Weaver, said he was 'shocked' at being nominated.
He said: 'To be honest, I didn't realise how brave it was. I just saw a man trapped in a car and thought 'there's someone in there, get them out'.
'I thought that if it was me in there I would want somebody to try and save me so I thought I had better do the same.
'It was only when I was at the fire service ceremony I realised how lucky I was. The head of department there, John Grant, told me he couldn't understand why the car hadn't blown up.
'Perhaps if I had been thinking about the dangers involved and about my children I would have thought twice before getting involved. But I would still do exactly the same if it happened again.'
The Oultons are also being entered for the national award, which will see 10 finalists attend a reception in November at 10 Downing Street, followed by a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel.