A HOSPITAL security guard risked his own life when he tackled a patient who was just seconds away from setting themself on fire at a petrol station.

Leigh Shirley, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, suffered slight burns and bruises after selflessly diving on the patient who had doused themselves in petrol and was holding a lit lighter to the floor.

Following his brave actions, Mr Shirley was given the regional Security Personnel Award for Outstanding Act for the South East region, as part of the British Security Awards commended in London last week.

Oxford Mail:

The father-of-two from Oxford admitted he reacted instinctively after seeing the patient leave the BP petrol station in Cherwell Drive just minutes after telling hospital staff they were going to start a fire.

The hospital security officer of nearly 30 years said there was no doubt that both he and the patient were just moments from going up in flames during the daring rescue last January.

After receiving the award he said: “I am honoured to be considered to be among the bravest security officers in the country.

“We often found ourselves in dangerous situations and we don’t really have too much time to think about what to do.

“However, we do know we have to put people’s safety first and I did what had to be done to save that patient’s life. I didn’t think it was brave - I only thought it was the right thing to do.”

In the early hours of the morning the patient left the hospital after making threats.

Understanding the seriousness of the situation, Mr Shirley and a colleague went beyond the hospital grounds in search of the patient, before seeing them leave a petrol station with a green canister of what was believed to be petrol.

When Mr Shirley saw the patient pouring the liquid over their head, with a lit lighter in their hand, he leapt out of the moving vehicle to knock the lighter away before restraining them on the floor.

Security backup arrived and two nurses and a doctor assisted the patient to shower to remove the fire risk.

When it was deemed safe, security stood outside the shower room while the patient was washed and the police arrived.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust deputy medical director, Clare Dollery, said: “This was an incredibly brave act, which certainly saved the life of the patient involved."

“Leigh showed a dedication to his role and to the safety of the patient which went above and beyond the call of duty.

“It is an extreme example of incidents that the whole Security Team deals with on a daily basis.

OUH said the patient was now receiving help. Mr Shirley works for security firm Mitie.