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Sean Hale 3

Yorkshire Housing site foreman Sean Hale has been presented with a hero award for saving the life of a vulnerable customer.

Sean, leading the fitting of new kitchens in Halifax, called police on February 26 when there was no answer at the door.

Officers broke in and found the resident in bed barely conscious having become ill overnight.

The man, 72, who is also deaf, was rushed to hospital for treatment for hyp​onatremia – low levels of sodium in the blood.

It is a condition that can have many underlying causes.

Symptoms include dehydration and brain swelling that can lead to headaches, seizures, coma and even death.

The customer is believed to have been only a couple of hours away from falling into a coma when Sean acted at around 8.20am that morning.

Sean said: “From what the hospital said, having checked, it’s possible that he might not still be here had we not acted.


“If we hadn’t done anything, and I then subsequently found out that the gentleman had died, I’d never have been able to live with myself.”

Sean and his Homeworks team had been fitting new kitchens in the Pellon area of Halifax.

Staff were also making daily checks to see how residents were coping with the kitchen refurbishments – and so knew the customer was around.

But agency worker Chris Doubtfire could not get an answer when he knocked on the door on the morning of February 26.

Realising something might be amiss, he called Sean, who also could not get an answer at the door.

Sean said: “We noticed the curtains in the bedroom were still drawn and the milk was still out.


“But the living room curtains were pulled back part of the way and you could see that the TV was on.


“We also spoke with a neighbour, who said the TV had been on loud all night, and so we thought something was wrong.”

Police were called, and when they too were unable to get an answer at the door, they used a battering ram to break it down.

They found the man, who had also lost his hearing aid, in bed and very poorly.

An ambulance was called and the customer was rushed to hospital after being checked over by paramedics.

Sean reported the situation to neighbourhood housing officer Pamela Davies, who arranged for emergency repairs to the door.

But the customer, believed to have lived in the flat since 1983, had no known relatives.

Talks with neighbours suggested he might have a son who either works or worked for a local window company.

That prompted Pamela, who is based at the Bradford office, to ring around double glazing firms.

Remarkably, she got lucky with only the second company she called and was able to inform his son that his father had fallen ill.

The customer is now out of hospital but has moved into residential care in Halifax.

Modest Sean said of his award: “I was just doing my job.


“It’s always nice to be recognised for something I’ve done. But I hope it’s something that anybody would do in the same situation.”​

In the picture, Sean Hale (left) is shown with Yorkshire Housing homeworks delivery manager Andy Kelham at an awards presentation on Friday, March 29.