Worthing woman honoured for saving life of stranger found on fire

A fitness instructor who saved a woman from being burned to death has been awarded national life-saving and bravery honour.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 1:05 pm

Marie Pickering, 44, of Greenland Road, Durrington, has been honoured by the Royal Humane Society following her selfless quick-thinking.

The society said she had been carrying out a training session in a nearby park when she spotted a woman who appeared to be pouring water over her head – but it turned out to be petrol.

Marie heard screams and looked round to see the woman on fire. She said: “I sprinted over while asking my client to call an ambulance.

Marie Pickering was carrying out a training session in Pond Lane Park in Durrington when she saw a woman on fire

“It was something that I don’t feel like I even had time to think about, I just went into action mode.”

Marie brought the woman to the ground and managed to roll her in a coat and put out the flames. “All I knew was that I needed to get over there as fast as I could for the least amount of damage to be done,” she added. “I just wanted to put the fire out.”

Now Marie has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on velum for putting her own safety on the line in her fight to save the stranger.

The society’s secretary, Andrew Chapman, said: “This was a horrific incident and Marie showed extreme bravery in going in to help the woman who was on fire.

“She could easily have been badly burned herself but her only thought was to save the woman. If she had not acted as she did the woman would almost certainly not have survived. It was a very courageous act which saved a life and she richly deserves the award she is to receive.” Marie said she ‘couldn’t believe it’ when she received the phone call telling her she had won the award.

“It is amazing to think that someone has made the effort to put my name forward and write up something about me to receive the award,” she said. It just so happened to be that I was in the right place at the right time.

“This lady was at a point where she felt that this was her only way out.

“I would absolutely love to see the woman today. I don’t know her but in my heart I just need to know that she is okay.”

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. The Queen is its patron and its president is Princess Alexandra. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.