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Eighteen-year-old Callum Matts, from Manchester, was presented with Greater Manchester Police’s District Superintendent’s Award for Bravery at a ceremony recently.

He said: “I felt quite privileged when I heard about the award – it’s not often something like this comes around.”

Callum, a Sports Journalism student, was sitting with his friends in the park in Cadishead, near Warrington, at around 1am, when a masked man started running towards them.  He recalled: “We were just chatting and listening to music when one of my friends said he saw a weird looking man.

“I turned around to see a man dressed all in black, wearing a clown mask and holding a big kitchen knife.

“The park was dimly lit and visibility wasn’t great. Then the man started running towards us.

“I managed to get my legs from under the bench and get to my feet when he swung the blade towards my abdomen. I reacted instinctively and grabbed the arm that the knife was in and tackled him to the floor.

“I restrained him for around 20-30 minutes until the police arrived – they had been taking home younger teenagers, who had previously been threatened by the man.

“Even more frightening was the fact that while he was on the ground, we discovered he also had a gun.” 

Callum said that although he panicked at the sight of the man rushing towards him, an adrenaline rush made him feel ‘quite calm’ in the moment.

“Afterwards, I felt lucky to not have been injured and quite pleased with the outcome.

“It hit me later that the situation was very serious, because I had no time to think about it as it all happened so quickly.”

Callum says the award means a lot to him. He said: “I feel as if I made a difference that night.  It could have ended badly for anyone else he may have encountered, and a lot worse for me and my friends.

“A young man came up to me afterwards and said: ‘You didn't have to do that – you saved my life’.  Apparently, he had been threatened by the man before he encountered us.

“It was quite hard hitting to say the least.” 

District Superintendent for GMP, Andrew Sidebotham said: “Callum is a remarkably brave young man.  Thinking only of those around him, he took control of the situation and safely detained the male ensuring he couldn’t cause any harm to anyone.  He instructed those present to call the police and remained at the scene until officers arrived and arrested the male. 

“This was an incredibly serious and violent incident and as a consequence the offender received a significant custodial sentence. 

“I was delighted to present Callum with this award as he truly deserved it for the selfless bravery that night.  He is an absolute credit to his family, community and University.”


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