An extremely troubled man was sitting on the edge of an overpass with a rope around his neck about to take his own life.
Devonte Cafferkey, 13, Sammy Farah, 14, and Shawn Young, just 12 at the time, didn’t panic.
In fact, the incredible quick-thinking, heroism and compassion of the boys, who go to St Mary’s High School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, saved the man’s life.
They tried to keep him back from the edge, talk him around, and when he went to jump, they grabbed onto him and refused to let go.
As Shawn then calmly rang for help, two other passers-by came to the boys’ aide and the man was rescued.
The three children are now to be recognised nationally for their bravery at the A10 overpass in Waltham Cross, last September.
Shawn’s mum, Carol, has been amazed at the boys’ maturity and said they have “just got on with it” since their life-saving efforts.
The boys all attend St Mary’s High School (Image: Google)
“They were coming from school and loitering around, Shawn was telling them to hurry up,” said the 52-year-old.
“If they had been messing around a bit longer, who knows what they would have come and met instead?
“I feel like they were meant to be there to help him.
“Shawn told me what happened when he came home.
“I let him finish the whole story and the whole way through I was smiling because there was nothing I could add to it.
“While trying to keep the man back and talk him out of suicide, he passed the boys his mobile phone saying ‘if it rings, don’t answer it’.”
The boys were helped by 47-year-old Joanne Stammers, who is registered disabled with Klippel–Trénaunay syndrome, a rare disability that makes her highly prone to blood clotting.
Despite her condition, which prevents her from working, Joanne took over from the boys and held onto the man “for what feels like forever” and was left with bruising all over her arms.
Another man, James Higlett, did his part in saving the man’s life.
All five will receive awards from the Royal Humane Society, a charity promoting life-saving intervention.
Shawn’s mum Carol is immensely proud of the boys’ behaviour.
She said: “I am extremely proud of all three of them, they are all good boys and it’s nice that they are getting recognised for doing something good in the community.
“Quite often in the national news there are a lot of negative reports about young people so it is nice to have something positive.
“They are very young and I marvel at how they are all dealing with it.”
“Every time I speak to them I learn something new about what happened.
“For example, the man was passing out and got heavier for them, I didn’t know that until recently.”
Jacqueline Cafferkey, Devonte’s mum, found out the good news a couple of weeks ago and described it as a “huge achievement.”
The three children picked up Special Achievement Awards at the Broxbourne Youth Awards for their bravery.
Joanne described the award as a “great honour” and said she is still in touch with Jacqueline.
“It’s amazing to get this award, it’s obviously under sad circumstances but it’s also great that the kids are getting something for what they did,” she said.
“I am really pleased for them and I hope other children can see it’s worth stopping to help someone.”
Joanne, who was on her way back from visiting her mum in Waltham Cross when she saw Shawn calling for help, told the Hertfordshire Mercury she “hates” going under the bridge now and avoids it when she can.
She still sees her mum once a week and pays special attention to any bridge she goes under now to make sure nobody is standing by the edge.
The heroes that day were nominated for these awards by Hertfordshire Police.
A date for the awards presentation has not yet been set.