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Poet praises water worker rescuer

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
Poet praises water worker rescuer
REUINTED . . . Billy and Stuart met up this week on the street where the poet took a tumble last month

A POET from Kirkbean was saved by Scottish Water engineer after he fell over in the street — just months after he penned an award-winning verse honouring the utility company’s staff.

Stuart A Paterson, 55, spent five days in DGRI after he tripped and hit his head on the pavement whilst walking home last month.

The acclaimed poet and performer received several stitches but sustained no serious injuries as a result of the fall.

His rescuer was named as Billy Laird, a network service operator for Scottish Water from Dumfries.

Billy had been working nearby when Stuart took the tumble and ran to see if he was injured. Not only was he first aid trained, but he had a supply of bandages in his van. He covered him with a blanket to keep him warm and chatted to him as they waited for an ambulance.

Afterwards, Billy went back to work, responding to several more callouts that night.

Stuart said: “I don’t remember much about what happened but what I do know is that Billy is a hero. He ran to help me and did all he could to keep me comfortable.”

In a coincidental twist, the close call came just months after Stuart had written a poem praising the diligence of Scottish Water workers.

‘The Very Dab’ was written in Scots language for a video honouring the company’s staff earlier this year.

Furthermore, whilst he recovered in hospital, Stuart’s verse won in the best video/animation category at this year’s National Institute of Internal Communications Awards.

“When I found out Billy worked for Scottish Water, I chuckled because I had just heard that my poem had won an award. I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t been there,” Stuart said, adding: “I hope I didn’t take too much time out of his day or leave anybody without water!”

Billy, 52, said: “I am delighted that Stuart is back on his feet and doing so well after such a nasty fall.

“This is the first time in my 22 years with the company I have had to use my first aid experience on a member of the public.

“When I was told it was Stuart that wrote the poem, I was surprised but also thought it was a lovely way to repay the nice words he wrote about key workers like so many of my colleagues.”

The pair were reunited at the scene of the accident earlier this week where they shared their own accounts of what happened. Billy presented Stuart with a card wishing him a speedy recovery and gifted him a punnet of grapes.

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