ROCESTER residents Melanie Sallis and Joanne Blount saved the life of a man in his 80s on their way home from a night out.
The two friends said a twist of fate led to them finding the pensioner, many hours after he had fallen and been left helpless in his back garden.
The women usually get dropped off at their front doors after a night out in Uttoxeter, but last Saturday night the friends decided to leave their taxi further away so they could have a chat on their way home.
And, by chance, that allowed them to save the pensioner, who had fallen earlier in the evening while putting his bins out and had developed hypothermia by the time the revellers heard his cries for help at 2.45am.
Ms Sallis and Ms Blount found him lying helpless in his Ashbourne Road garden, called an ambulance and helped paramedics stabilise him before he was taken to hospital.
Ms Sallis said: "I don't know why but we decided to have a little walk home and a natter when we got dropped off. It's really spooky that, if we'd have been dropped off at home as normal, the man probably would have been stuck there overnight and died from hypothermia."
The two friends said they heard a weak voice forcing out the words "help" and "please don't leave me".
Ms Sallis said: "He was really, really cold and, while I called 999, Jo popped home and grabbed as many blankets as she could. I tried to keep him talking and he told me about everything from the place he grew up to his service in the war."
Within 15 minutes, a first responder vehicle had arrived. The two women helped the paramedic move the patient and wrapped him in tin foil blankets to raise his body temperature.
Ms Sallis, who is a travel consultant at award-winning Uttoxeter firm Journeys à la Carte, said she and Ms Blount stayed calm until the man had been taken to hospital.
She said: "It was strange that, at the time, we were both really focused on what needed to be done.
"But, afterwards, I felt a bit emotional and wanted to go home for a cry as it was quite upsetting finding this poor man, who has no immediate neighbours, in such a helpless state.
"I think we both want to highlight the fact that we were just doing what anyone else would have done in that situation."