Hero telephone engineer comes to rescue of elderly motorist

Openreach engineer Neil Sayce. EMN-160831-104006001
Openreach engineer Neil Sayce. EMN-160831-104006001

A BT phone engineer is being hailed a hero after potentially saving the life of an elderly motorist in Sleaford.

Neil Sayce, 36, who works for Openreach, BT’s local network business, was driving along Grantham Road last Wednesday (August 24) when a car hit a traffic sign, before coming to rest a short distance later.

I feared she was going to die.

Neil Sayce

He found the elderly driver of the vehicle slumped over the wheel, drifting in and out of consciousness.

Neil, from Sleaford, used first aid skills he learned during his 16-year army career to stay with the woman, talking to her to make sure she remained conscious until an ambulance arrived.

Local resident Margaret Harrold was driving along the same stretch of road and was the first on the scene. She said: “Unbeknown to me at this time there was an Openreach van following. Neil was amazing and quickly took over the situation.

“He made sure the lady did not get out of her car and suggested I rang an ambulance straight away. She was not responding to anything he was saying and he was fearful she was going into a possibly fatal coma.

“For the next 50 minutes or so, Neil knelt beside the car making sure the lady did not go to sleep. She kept going in and out of consciousness and he did a remarkable job of talking to her throughout this time. Every time she came round he tried to engage her in familiar conversation, such as how many children she had and what they were called.

“I got in touch with BT afterwards as I wanted to highly commend his actions and I really hope Openreach will be able to convey our thanks to him for the way he helped us deal with this potentially life threatening situation.”

Neil, who completed four tours of duty in Afghanistan, is a customer service engineer with Openreach and was travelling between appointments when he witnessed the incident.

He said: “My army training means there’s not a lot I haven’t seen. I was able to remain calm and knew it was vital to keep her conscious. I talked to her and checked her breathing and pulse. I feared she was going to die.

“I was relieved when the lady’s family contacted me later to say she’d discharged herself from hospital and was recovering.”

Remarkably, it was the third time in three years Neil has given first aid at the scene of road accidents, with a good outcome each time.

BT has recruited more than 2,000 ex-military personnel in the last five years, primarily via the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), the MOD’s resettlement provider.

Employees work at all levels across all parts of the business, although the vast majority work as engineers for Openreach. BT’s recruiting programme with CTP continues, and hundreds of vacancies are advertised each year, including operations managers, senior operations managers, project managers, BT Fleet vehicle mechanics and Openreach engineers.