Shy hero who saved man from Camden Town tube tracks
Sculptor who talked man to safety says 'it could have been me 20 years ago'
06 February, 2018 — By Helen Chapman
A RESCUER who saved the life of a man standing on the tracks at Camden Town tube station has told the New Journal he believes people in distress are in search of someone who will listen to them.
Drew Edwards persuaded the man in his late 20s to get back onto the platform on Thursday afternoon. Power to the line was switched off when the man was seen standing in front of the train tunnel.
Mr Edwards described how he shook the man’s hand and began talking to him. “I always walk down the platform to the end of the tunnel where the trains emerge from,” he said. “As I arrived there I saw him and instinctively shouted ‘Oh! no you’re not!’. “Seeing him reminded me of myself. He was distraught and staring into the abyss, which I had empathy for because I’ve been there myself.”
For those in distress, the Samaritans runs a 24-hour phone line, free to call, on 116 123
He added: “I hope he finds his way through this. I have no answers. But as a recovering addict myself, and as someone who has been in that situation, I know there’s help and understanding out there. It could have been me 20 years ago standing at Warren Street station. I’m a long way from that place and person now.”
Mr Edwards, 51, trained as an actor before getting into sculpture. “I sculpt angels because we all need angels in our lives,” he said.
In 2016 Mr Edwards donated sculptures of a mother and child he made out of granite to Finchley Memorial Hospital as a thanks for treating him. “I was suffering from Graves’ disease and they saved my life,” he said. He had asked the man on the tracks what had brought him to be in that situation. “He began to talk to me about his life and I said: ‘You don’t need to be alone with this.’ Sometimes people just want to be listened to,” he said.
Mr Edwards helped another person off the tracks at Camden Town three years ago. “The staff at the station told me what I did was incredible but I don’t see it that way,” he said. “I just see it as the responsibility of a fellow human. I’m not holier than thou. I’m sure lots of people would have done the same thing.”
He had witnessed somebody die in front of a train at St James’s Park station as a 12-year-old, an image that had stayed with him. “I don’t take life for granted,” he said. “I have been given another chance. I’m grateful for where I am and what people have shown me over the years. “There have been cutbacks in mental health services yet there are people out there that need to be treated.”