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"Hero" dad saved worker impaled on fence post

Jeff Bonthuys gets commendation from Royal Humane Society after rescuing a Veolia tree surgeon who was fighting for his life

Jeff Bonthuys during a bike rally to Margate.

A father-of-six from Farnborough has been formally hailed a hero after helping save a man’s life last year.

Jeff Bonthuys leapt into action when Steve Woollhouse’s leg became impaled on a fence post in the King George V park after he fell as he was carrying out work on some trees for Veolia on August 22.

Mr Bonthuys was outside his home in The Grove when the accident happened.

He has now received a commendation from the Royal Humane Society (RHS) after being recommended by a neighbour, which was endorsed by Veolia.

Mr Bonthuys said: “I can remember the fella up the tree when I heard a loud crack and heard him scream.

“I went running over and saw he was impaled on the railing, which had gone through his leg in three places. I put his leg on my shoulder and the blood was spurting out and covering me. I put my finger in the hole where all the blood was coming out and held him there for about half an hour.”

Mr Bonthuys, 56, said the fire brigade and ambulance service arrived, but it was a "tricky situation".

He added: “The railing had gone through his ankle so they had to cut the fence out in a section and lay him down with me holding him. I couldn’t let go because I was supporting him.”

Mr Bonthuys, the owner of Farnborough-based General Property Maintenance, said Mr Woollhouse was then put on a stretcher and taken by air ambulance to Southamp-ton General Hospital.

“The paramedics said if I hadn’t done what I did he would have bled out and died. But I don’t think it makes me anything special. I’m just an ordinary person. If someone needs help you go and help them, and that’s exactly what I did.

“You just do what you have to do.”

Peter Guest, Mr Bonthuys’ neighbour, said the Veolia worker owed his life to the reluctant hero.

He said: “He single-handedly supported the man’s weight and applied pressure to the wound until the emergency services arrived and took over.

“He went above and beyond the call of duty and saved the guy’s life.”

Mr Guest was so impressed with his neighbour’s actions that he recommended him for the award and the Society duly sent the certificate, which he presented to Mr Bonthuys on Monday.

“I knocked on his door, shook his hand, gave him the certificate and said this is for you, congratulations,” said Mr Guest.

“I then left him so he could show it to his family.”

Mr Bonthuys is married to Catherine, 52, and the couple have six children – Joseph, 25, Jennifer, 23, Charlie, 18, Rebecca, 16, Victoria, 14, and 11-year-old Alice.

Mr Guest has lived next door to the hero for more than 10 years.

“Jeff and I get on very well,” he added.

“He’s a very nice man. He wouldn’t have sought any recognition for what he did but I wouldn’t give him the choice.”

Keely Gallagher, of Veolia, said: “We are very grateful to Mr Bonthuys’ quick thinking that saved Steve Woollhouse’s life after his accident.

“His actions in advance of the emergency services arriving made all the difference.

“Mr Woollhouse fully recovered and was back at work with Veolia just two weeks after the accident.”

 

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