Castleton teenager stops man from jumping off bridge

Date published: 08 July 2019

A quick-thinking 16-year-old boy from Castleton helped save a man’s life after he stopped him from jumping from a bridge.

Chris Howells and his younger sister, Skye, 12, were walking their dog through Castleton on their way to Sudden to help look for a friend’s missing dog on 26 June when Chris spotted a hand on the wrong side of the railway bridge.

Asking Skye to take the dog, Chris approached the steps and saw a man in his late 20s in a distressed state, holding the wall with one hand from the small ledge.

Chris began to talk to the unknown man, trying to calm him down and rationalise with him before climbing up to the wall with him.

After around 20 minutes, another man walked past and helped Chris encourage the vulnerable man back onto the right side of the wall.

Chris sat with the man until the police arrived, reassuring him and keeping him calm.

Chris’s mum, Emma Watts said: “My son has fought so many of his own personal demons. He struggles every day with his mental health, anxiety and self-harming, which as a parent breaks my heart.

“I made this public because I wanted Chris to see the good he did, and feel more positive about himself. He helps me do collections for the local foodbanks, collect Christmas presents for underprivileged families and bags for the homeless.

“Even though he does not see it, Chris is an inspiration.”

Chris has since left little notes of hope on Castleton railway bridge, Middleton bridge, the blue Kirkholt bridge and the M62 bridge and also around Trows Lane to discourage others who may be in a similar state of mind.

The selfless teen also received a letter from Chief Superintendent Neil Evans of GMP, thanking him for his assistance on that night.

In the letter, Mr Evans wrote: “Your swift actions saved the man’s life and resulted in him being dealt with by the Emergency Services and receiving the help he needed.

“You should be rightly proud of your action.”


One of Chris' signs to deter those thinking of ending their life, urging them to think again
One of Chris' signs to deter those thinking of ending their life, urging them to think again


If you’re feeling troubled, help is available.

Samaritans – for everyone

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men

  • Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
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Papyrus – for people under 35

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