Heartbroken widow of hero cop killed when he was hit by a train as he saved a distressed man praises 'wonderful' husband

31 August 2023, 15:17 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 15:24

Sgt Saville was hit by a train while saving a man
Sgt Saville was hit by a train while saving a man. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police/Alamy

By Will Taylor

The heartbroken widow of the hero police officer who died when he was hit by a train as he tried to save a distressed man has described him as a "wonderful" man who had a "desire to help others".

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Graham Saville, a 46-year-old sergeant, was struck in Balderton, near Newark, when he saved the man's life on August 24.

The father of two died at Queen's Medical Centre on August 29. The 29-year-old man he saved suffered non life-threatening injuries.

His widow, who has not been named by police, said: "Graham was a wonderful man. He was laid back, funny, silly and adventurous – he lived life to the full. He loved his job and joined the police to do something worthwhile and to make a difference.

"Ultimately his desire to help others has led to him making the ultimate sacrifice. We are devastated. The outpouring of love from all those who knew him is testament to the amazing person he was.

"We are so lucky to have loved him."

More than £100,000 has been raised - first to help with treatment and now, after his death, in his memory - by kind hearted members of the public.

Earlier on Thursday, when asked on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast if he should be honoured, Chris Philp said: "We don't usually comment on awards but I cannot think of a more deserving recipient than Sgt Graham Saville, who gave his own life to save one of our fellow citizens.

Read more: Hero police officer pictured as tributes pour in for ‘hugely respected’ sergeant who died saving man from train tracks

"I think his heroism is something that we will all remember. I know that his family and his colleagues in Nottinghamshire Police force... will be feeling his loss very keenly.

"I think his heroism was outstanding and inspiring and he exemplifies the very best of policing."

Sgt Saville's widow paid tribute to the hero cop
Sgt Saville's widow paid tribute to the hero cop. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police

A criminal investigation will not be launched into his death. While it is understood that Network Rail would usually be asked to make the track safe before officers go on it, there are time when they made need to get on without making the call to stop someone being hurt.

Network Rail has not confirmed if it was contacted because the British Transport Police is investigating.

The officer was uncle to Joe Worrall, the captain of Nottingham Forest, who held a minute's applause for him ahead of their game against Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, a JustGiving fundraiser passed its target of raising £100,000 for him. The page described him as showing the "epitome of policing bravery".

Read more: Police officer in serious condition after being hit by train while trying to rescue 'distressed' man from rail track

The officer remains in a serious condition
The officer remains in a serious condition. Picture: Alamy

Nottinghamshire Police's Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: "Today is a day of mourning for the entire police family.

"Graham was a hugely respected and popular colleague and his death in the line of duty has come as an enormous shock to us all.

"Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his family and we will do everything we can to support them through this unimaginably devastating time.

"It is impossible to put into words how devastating this news is for everyone who loved and respected Graham.

"On Thursday, he went to work to protect the people of Nottinghamshire from harm, and it is testament to his bravery and dedication as a police officer that he was fatally injured while attempting to save another man's life.

"His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten."

Rishi Sunak said: "I'm saddened to learn of the passing of Sergeant Saville.

"It is a testament to his bravery that he died in the line of duty and a terrible reminder of the work the police do every day to keep us safe.

"My thoughts are with his family, friends and the whole of Nottinghamshire Police Force."