Kentish Town policeman commended for saving suicidal man

An “extraordinary” policeman who saved a suicidal man and later became his best friend, and a woman who has devoted her life to improving carers’ rights, have been commended for their courage and community spirit.

PC Peter McKen, who is based at Kentish Town Police Station in Holmes Road, was called to the house of a man who threatened to kill himself in July.

He stayed with him for several hours and persuaded him to take down the noose he had tied. Since then they have become close friends.

He was presented with the Community Awareness Engagement Award by TV presenter Bil Oddie at the Camden and Islington NHS Trust Awards last Friday.

The 30-year-old police officer said: “I’m proud to win the award, but I only did what anybody would do. I’m just glad he’s come through it, and I want to stay in touch.”

The man he saved, who did not want to be named, said PC McKen was too modest.

He said: “He’s become my best friend. He’s given me constant support and encouragement, always phoning me and checking on me. He’s taken kindness to another level.”

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At the ceremony held at St Pancras Hospital, Kate Harwood, who lives in St Augustine’s Road near Camden Square, also received the Carer’s Award, recognising her dedication to raising awareness of issues facing carers.

Described as “something quite special” and someone of “great courage”, Mrs Harwood looks after her husband, a former university professor who now has dementia, and campaigns tirelessly on a wide range of Camden bodies.

She is a member of the planning committee for Camden Carers Week, Camden Dementia Strategy Implementation Group and Camden Carers Voice.

She was also presented with her award by nature expert and former Goodies star Mr Oddie, who lives in Hampstead.

He has close links to St Pancras Hospital, having used its services for the psychiatric problems he has had for more than a decade.

The awards commended the work of exceptional individuals and teams within Camden and Islington health services.