A selfless act by a Darvel engineer helped save the life of a young boy at his lowest ebb.
Mark Craig, 34, helped to talk down the schoolboy from a railway bridge as he was thought to be preparing to take his own life last September.
The youngster confided in Mark that he was being bullied at school before losing his grandfather, which had driven him into a depressed state.
Design engineer Mark, who works for rail giants QTS, is mainly office-based but was on site that particular day as workers began a new project.
He said: “I was on site to show the guys where they’d be starting off the job.
“I pulled up to the field and walked along and where the job started, there’s an overbridge either end.
“As we were there, the wee guy came walking past us but where this particular track is, he’d have had to walk through at least two other fields to get there.
“He didn’t speak to us and when I said hello and asked if he was flunking school he just kept his head down.
“But straight away I thought it was strange because if he had been truanting, he would have been with his pals.
“There weren’t many trains running that day but I knew there was one due on that particular track in 10 minutes.”
Mark knew something was up and quickly tried to work out where the boy had gone.
He continued: “As I looked along the bridge, I could see the young boy on top of the wall of the overbridge hanging over the side.
“When I walked along, he was blinded by tears and could barely speak. It was at that point, when I realised the next train was on its way, that it became apparent he was getting ready to do something serious.
“So I tried to make conversation and after about 10 or 15 minutes I gained his trust and managed to take him off the overbridge.
“He had changed his clothes from when he walked past at first and out of his school stuff, so I think what he was going to do that day was clearly pre-conceived.
“Straight away I contacted the control signaller to let him know what had happened and they then got in touch with the British Transport Police.”
In the heartbreaking moments that followed, the boy gave Mark an insight into what had driven him to the brink.
And he revealed that he’d received little help from teachers after reaching out in the days prior.
Mark said: “When we chatted a bit more, he told me he’d been getting bullied by fourth years every morning on the way to school and had also lost his grandad two days prior.
“After he’d gone to his guidance teacher to report the bullying, he’d been told that at break times he was to go to a room away from the bullies.
“That just doesn’t seem right because it’s making this young boy feel like he’s the problem.”
Modest Mark was quick to play down his intervention but says he hopes the youngster he helped knows that there are people he can talk to.
He added: “It was really heartbreaking at the time and certainly wasn’t a normal day’s work.
“I have two kids of my own but they’re seven and two, so I’d never dealt with this sort of situation before.
“I feel like it’s all spiralled massively – I don’t think I did anything that anyone else wouldn’t have.
“Everyone can be caught up in their own day-to-day lives and own worries, but I hope anyone who is going through the sort of things this young boy was, that they know there are people out there.
“I was contacted by the boy’s family through the British Transport Police – they passed on their gratitude for helping him.”
Mark was recognised by the British Transport Police for his efforts in a letter sent out last month.
Superintendent David Marshall said in the letter: “You have made a difference to that little boy’s life and on his behalf too, I thank you for your kindness and for helping him get the care he required.”
QTS managing director Alan McLeish praised Mark for his act of kindness and admitted he was taken aback by the story.
He said: “I have known Mark for many years and have always considered him to be a true gentleman and positive role model, however I was genuinely overwhelmed when I heard what Mark had done for that young lad.”