PC Ronald Thackery

– the story behind the picture


PC Ronald Thackery, 1956

PC Ronald Thackery, 1956


Recent correspondence from Carl Purkins highlights the good work by PC Ronald Thackery in 1955, which led to him receiving a Royal Humane Society award for saving young Maureen Bell (Carl’s mother).

Carl writes:

“Today I was in a conversation in a group on Facebook about a housing estate in Hull, after a question was asked about when it was started. My family could date the estate very easily, as the estate was still being constructed when my mother, a toddler at the time, fell into a drain on the estate and was rescued by PC Thackeray.

I’m a bit of a family history buff so I thought I’d Google the few details I had, to see if anything came up relating to it. Your website popped up, with a citation relating to PC Thackeray.

I actually have a copy of a local news photograph from 1956, when PC Thackeray (who happened to become known as Uncle Ron after my mum’s family were allocated a house next door to him) was awarded the RHS medal. It’s a lovely photograph, with Ron, his wife, my mum and her parents all celebrating the presentation – and the certificate itself.

I vaguely remember Ron dying, though I was a little boy at the time. Very sad as he was a bit of a community hero. My nan lived next door to them right through from my mum being a little toddler through to my nan moving into a nursing home (where she passed on after a couple of years).

The toddler’s name was Maureen Bell (born 15 May 1953). She’s now Maureen Purkins. She’s always recalled the story from her parents. At the time the family were living on Bexhill Avenue, which backs on to the drain I believe. She says she climbed out of her pram  – things were different back then! The family later moved to a bigger house next door to Ron in Annandale Road.”


We, of course, were keen to receive a copy of the photograph (shown above).

The citation we have on the RHS awards page reads:
On a summer afternoon in 1955 a toddler fell into a drain at a housing estate in Hull. PC Thackeray who lived nearby was called to the scene, recovered the child and rendered emergency resuscitation, saving the life of the little girl.