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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Quick-thinking Catholic student receives police award

A Catholic schoolboy from Stockport has won a police award for bravery and citizenship following a near fatal car accident.

Joseph Haddad, a 15-year-old GCSE student from St Ambrose College, Hale Barns, was standing at a bus stop on Cheadle Road in Cheadle Hulme near where he lives at 7.40am on Thursday, 19th May, waiting for his school bus to take him into the Catholic grammar school in Hale Barns.

“I was just ambling about, walking round the bus stop waiting for the school bus when a car mounted the pavement and crashed into the bus stop. It demolished the bus stop sign where I had been standing been seconds earlier, and flipped over on its roof,” he said.

“I was shaken, yes, but I immediately went to see if the driver was alright. Luckily, given the state of the bus stop and the car, there was only one person inside the car and though she was startled, she had only minor cuts and bruises. I helped her out of the car and checked her over and called the ambulance service.

“It all happened in a blur really, and lots of people soon came rushing over to help, but before the police came my bus arrived and I went to school. I then was a little surprised during the morning that the police came down to take a witness statement.”

PC Simon Toft of the Greater Manchester Police based at Stockport, who with Special Constable Andrew Rose was the first police officer on the scene, praised the St Ambrose pupil both for his response to the accident and his statement following it.

“When we got there I was amazed no one had been seriously hurt. The road sign had been demolished and there was a lot of damage. Those people on the spot praised Joseph for his quick thinking and told me what he had done and I have to say he did exactly the right thing and very quickly,” he said.

“When I went to interview him at St Ambrose, I was very impressed by his statement; in 10 years of policing I have not come across a more impressive young man, which was why I recommended him for a commendation.”

Superintendent Jo Rogerson of the GMP, also based at Stockport, added, “Joseph’s response was amazing; despite danger to himself and the impact of the collision he reacted immediately to help the lady and I am delighted to be able to recognise his public-spirited response with this commendation.”

Joseph, who wants to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in the St Ambrose College Sixth Form, admitted that despite his age he was fully aware of the serious danger of fatality he had witnessed and urged people to be thankful for their lives.

“I am a bit young to really consider what might have happened but it was a near-death experience. I was standing just where the car hit literally seconds before. All I would say is that everyone should cherish their lives and be thankful,” he said.

“I am honoured to receive this award and am thankful to the police but I am surprised as I just did what was needed at the time and didn’t really think too much about it,” he added.

James Keulemans, principal of St Ambrose College, thanked the police for recognising Joseph’s actions and also offered his praise to the schoolboy.

“I am very grateful for the police to give of their time and make a special effort to honour Joseph for his model citizenship,” he said.

“We know what a fine young man he is and expect him to continue to do well in the future and always be a public spirited individual.”

Picture: Joseph receives his commendation from, (left to right) Special Constable Andrew Rose, PC Simon Toft, Superintendent Jo Rogerson, and St. Ambrose Principal James Keulemans.