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‘Hero’ British-Pakistani honoured for saving nearly 30 lives

Rizwan Javed, from Leyton, works for MTR Elizabeth line at Ealing Broadway and Paddington stations

LONDON: An exceptional British Pakistani rail worker who has saved 29 people from taking their own lives since 2015 has been appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Rizwan Javed, from Leyton in east London, works for the MTR Elizabeth line at Ealing Broadway and Paddington stations.

He has helped to save several lives at the platform during the course of his work by being alert and approaching vulnerable individuals in difficult situations.

Javed joined the railway around 10 years ago and at the start of his career, he attended the Samaritans training course.

He told Geo News in an interview: “I am thankful to Allah for this honour. It’s all due to the prayers of my parents that I have been recognised in the King’s New Years Honours List. It’s a huge honour for me that my work in the mental health area has been recognised this way.”

He said his work with the Samaritans is the key. “With the Samaritans, I learned how to identify vulnerable people, what sort of conversations to have with them, how to engage them, how to look out, and how to take them to the point of safety,” he said.

Within the first week after starting his railway job, Javed helped stop someone from taking their own life.

In 2019 Mr Javed, who has previously worked for Great Western Railway (GWR), won the Samaritans Lifesaver Award which recognises people who have used their talking and listening skills to save lives.

He told Geo News that he believes that Allah will always reward him for helping others and being there for those who have no one else to talk to them or undergoing. He credited his Pakistani parents for teaching him from a young age the importance of being helpful and charitable.

He said: “My parents always taught me how to be a good and useful citizen, how to make a positive difference.”

Javed recalled that in one instance he talked to a girl in her mid-20s after identifying that she needed help. “A few days later, she came running to me at the station and gave me a big hug. She said she wouldn’t be alive today if I had not talked to her that night and if I had not convinced her that life was worth living. That was very emotional and rewarding.”

He said people are not educated about mental health issues and these things impact a lot.

Javed and his parents were thrilled when they received the government letter telling him he was being appointed MBE for his services.

He said that the facial expressions of the people, the type of clothes they wear in line with the weather conditions, missing a train, acting weirdly, being wayward, and asking about non-stopping services are all signs a person requires help.

He said that mental health issues affect all communities but it’s important to allocate more resources to tackle these issues.

MBE is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire level (excluding a knighthood/damehood), behind CBE, and then OBE.

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