A police volunteer who pulled a man from his crashed car on a level crossing near Melton just seconds before it was struck by a freight train has been given a prestigious award.
Kimberly Pulley was presented with the honour for Special Constable of the Year at a ceremony for Leicestershire Police’s Volunteers in Policing Awards.
She was one of 20 award winners from across the county at the event with presentations also being made to Melton police cadets Finley O’Riordan and Bradie Smith.
Kimberly (24) has been a special for just over five years and also works full-time as a self-employed carer.
She was first on the scene with her crewmate in the level crossing incident, which took place early last month on Station Lane at Kirby Bellars.
The car was struck on the track and Kimberly leapt into action to haul the driver out of his vehicle around only a minute before a train ploughed into it.
It was one of a number of serious incidents she has been involved with as a member of the Melton response team.
Recalling the level crossing incident, she said she was helping police people in the town centre as they were leaving Tubes nightclub when a call came through about it.
She told the Melton Times: “Me and my partner were first on the scene.
“The car was on the track and we could see the driver was still in the car so I just ran to the car and helped him out.
“The freight train arrived 30 seconds later and there was a quite an impact when it hit the car.
“We didn’t realise how little time we had before the train arrived - it was probably a minute-and-a-half from the time we got there.
“It was a relief that we managed to get him out.”
Her actions and her work in dealing with other incidents earned a generous round of applause from the 400 people in attendance at the police volunteers awards night, which was held at Leicester City FC’s King Power Stadium.
Kimberly, who works as a self-employed carer for vulnerable people in Melton and Rutland, said: “I’m thrilled and also so shocked to have won this award, I really didn’t expect it.
“I love the people I work with and I am really lucky to be a part of a small close knit team, and the people of Melton are amazing.
“I’ve always loved helping people too and as a special I get the chance to help a wide variety of people, from vulnerable adults to people who have been in collisions.
“It’s really rewarding.”
It was also a night of celebration for two police cadets based in Melton.
Finley O’Riordan, who supports the High Sheriff of Rutland, Margaret Miles, received the Community Service Shield.
The citation for his awards says: ‘He gives brilliant support to Melton Police and thrives at community engagement events.
‘He volunteered to help at the Breaking Boundaries event last summer and used his enthusiasm and knowledge of the police to engage with people of all ages through playing sport and showing people around the police vehicles’.
Melton’s Head Cadet, Bradie Smith, was awarded the VPC Special Recognition Award, which is sponsored by Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach.
Her citation reads: ‘In February she helped her elderly neighbour who had fallen and needed urgent medical help.
‘She used first aid skills learned at cadets to keep her neighbour safe until the ambulance arrived and provided reassurance to her neighbour’s carer and son’.
Chief Constable, Simon Cole, explained how important volunteers are to the work of Leicestershire Police.
He said: “In the last year our volunteers, specials and cadets have contributed 101,710 hours, which is remarkable.
“They are local heroes and the work they do is truly brilliant.
“As Chief Constable it is completely humbling to have people who are prepared to commit their own time to make Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland a safer place.
“The event wouldn’t be possible without the generous sponsorship of a number of local organisations and the Police and Crime Commissioner, and the awards gave us a chance to celebrate these wonderful people and the communities they serve.”
The awards night coincided with National Volunteers’ week, which is an annual celebration of volunteers across the country and takes pride in highlighting the excellent work they undertake and their contribution to communities.
More than £500 was raised in a raffle for Rainbows Children’s Hospice.
*Thomas Chetwynd (28), of Melton, is due in court later this month to face charges of driving a motor vehicle when his alcohol level was above the limit, dangerous driving, and obstructing an engine or carriage using the railway by an unlawful act. The charges relate to an incident on May 4 when a Ford Fiesta crashed on a level crossing at Kirby Bellars.