The prestigious annual Police Bravery Awards will this year hear of South Yorkshire Police sergeant Paul Sheridan who led a group of over 230 people to safety through last year’s Nepalese blizzard disaster.
Sgt Sheridan stepped in to lead the group after poorly prepared local guides, who were lacking equipment, got lost placing the large group of trekkers in grave danger. A total of 29 people died in the disaster.
He made his way to the front of the group and showed outstanding courage and leadership to reassure the guide and get the group moving before actually helping to guide the group through the snowstorm on 16 October 2014.
As the group got lower, the stormy conditions eased and it was only at this point that they realised how many people Sgt Sheridan had actually saved.
Sgt Sheridan’s courage was recognised nationally in the press and worldwide as his actions that day saved many from what could have been certain death. His actions have brought about a review of the trekking guides and the guidance on such trips.
He described the moment he realised he would have to step in: "There were a lot of guides there as a link between tourists and locals or to facilitate an evacuation relating to altitude, but with winter mountaineering skills they had no comprehension. It’s criminal, it’s negligent.
"Those at the front were crying, so I became the person at the front and I remember thinking, ’What on earth do we do now?’. That was my lowest point because I knew I was in deep trouble. I thought I was going to die," he said.
Jim Lucas, secretary, South Yorkshire Police Federation, said:
“Paul showed that day that despite the fact he was off-duty, he felt a responsibility to help others and his actions that day saved countless lives of people from all over the world. He deserves our thanks and this nomination for his courage in helping others in a crisis.”
Stephen Mann, CEO, Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is extremely proud to sponsor the Police Bravery Awards, recognising the courage of police officers who face extremely challenging situations every day to keep the public safe. Our ongoing, long-term commitment to support these awards reflects the incredible respect we have for the work of the police service.”