Brave Chorley carers hailed as heroes for saving pensioner's life after 81-year-old collapses and catches fire at home

A pair of brave carers are being hailed as heroes for saving a pensioner's life after she caught fire at her home in Chorley.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 5:35 pm
Frank Monks, 61, and Ray Nightingale, 63, saved Margaret Hyde's life after she collapsed against a gas heater and caught fire at her home in Yarrow Road on Friday, January 17

Margaret Hyde, 81, suffered severe burns when she caught fire after falling into the gas fire at her home in Yarrow Road on Friday (January 17).

Her son Aaron, 44, said she could have died if it wasn't for two quick-thinking carers who bravely rushed into the home to rescue her.

Frank Monks, 61, and Ray Nightingale, 63, work as drivers for the council-run home care team and give Mrs Hyde regular lifts to a nearby day centre.

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Margaret Hyde with her father George in the 1980s

They had arrived just minutes after Mrs Hyde had collapsed and found her unconscious in the living room with her clothes on fire.

Her son said the heroic actions of Frank and Ray saved his mum's life.

The brave duo had called at Mrs Hyde's home to take her to Fosterfields day centre in Eaves Lane just minutes after she fell against the flames.

Entering the smoke-filled home, Frank and Ray gently gathered Mrs Hyde into their arms from where she lay crumpled on a burning rug.

Ray Nightingale, 63, and Frank Monks, 61, are drivers with Lancashire County Council's travel care team and regularly give Mrs Hyde lifts to Fosterfields day centre in Eaves Lane

The pair swiftly carried her to safety and phoned 999.

"It's a miracle they arrived at my mum's home when they did," said her son Aaron, who works at Poundland in Market Walk.

"I can't thank them enough for what they did. To put it simply, they saved her life."

Aaron said he had been at work when he got the call, informing him that his mum had been injured in a fire at the home they share in Yarrow Road.

"I rushed home and I could see a helicopter circling overhead," said Aaron.

"I could tell it was the air ambulance, and I knew then that my mum was in a bad way.

"It's a Godsend that the drivers from the day centre arrived when they did, otherwise, well, who knows."

Frank and Ray cared for Mrs Hyde before fire crews arrived and began to administer first aid.

Firefighters from Chorley, Leyland and Fulwood tackled the fire whilst paramedics flew the pensioner to Wythenshawe Hospital by air ambulance.

Mrs Hyde remains in a serious condition at a specialist burns centre at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

The 81-year-old suffered 13% deep-tissue burns and had to face three-hours of surgery to remove dead tissue and undergo skin grafts.

Aaron said he is "eternally grateful" for the courage and quick-thinking of the travel team drivers.

"She's by no means out of the woods yet, and we're just taking it day by day," said Aaron.

"But Frank and Ray's bravery has given my mum a fighting chance.

"She was on the rug with her back in a horrible state when they came in.

"If they hadn't come to visit my mum when they did, I don't think she'd be with us now.

"It's like providence. Whether you believe in God or not, it's a miracle she's still with us."

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He said the help and support they have received from Lancashire County Council has given the family a lifeline.

"When we're both at work, the carers from Helping Hands come to visit and look after her.

"Me and my sister are exhausted and the home care team have been a lifeline for us. Not just for my mum, but for me and my sister as well.

"I can't imagine how we would have managed without their help.

"And the travel team drivers pick her up several times a week and take her to Fosterfields day centre, where the staff are simply brilliant.

"I have so much admiration for the people who saved her, and for everyone who has cared for her.

"They deserve recognition for everything they have done for my mum.

"From Frank and Ray and the carers and day centre staff here in Chorley, to the firefighters, and doctors and nurses at Wythenshawe.

"I can't praise them enough. They are simply amazing people."

Aaron said his mum remains in a lot of pain, but is responding well to treatment.

"I'm proud of her for getting this far, for still having so much fight left inside her.

"Due to her age and how frail she has become, surgery doesn't come without risk.

"But she's had the skin grafts, meaning it shouldn't be necessary for her to have further surgery and she can concentrate on healing.

"She's frail and barely seven-stone wet through, but she's tough as old boots.

"They don't make them like her anymore."

"We're glad that our staff were in a position to help, and proud of the courage they showed by intervening so quickly in what was clearly a dangerous situation."