A QUICK-THINKING firefighter has been commended for saving a cyclist’s life while off duty.

Firefighter Darren Collier, aged 40, leaped into action, putting his life-saving skills to the test when he came across cyclist John Drake lying in the road in a pool of blood.

His heroic actions were said by doctors to have saved Mr Drake’s life.

The bravery of firefighter Collier, who works at Bolton Central Fire Station, was recognised with a commendation from County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk at a ceremony at the Moor Lane fire station.

Mr Collier, who has been a firefighter for 19 years, was driving home with his partner, Julie Holt, on the afternoon of Sunday, May 5, when he saw Mr Drake lying in the middle of Turton Road, Bromley Cross , near to its junction with Chapeltown Road Mr Drake had been in a collision with a blue Toyota Yaris, which was being driven by an 84-year-old man.

He said: “I must have arrived within a matter of seconds of the collision.

“I saw a cyclist face down in a pool of blood. I turned him on his back and cleared his airway because he had a potential blockage.

“He was struggling to breathe and had a severe head injury.”

Mr Collier added: “I found out a month ago that I was receiving a commendation.

“It is all a bit surreal because I was just doing my job.

“It’s what I was trained to do.

“I am a trained trauma technician so I knew what I had to do.”

Mr Drake spent six weeks in hospital after suffering serious head injuries and is now recovering at home.

Ms Holt and a passing runner assisted in rolling Mr Drake on to his back and took care of him until paramedics arrived.

Mr Drake was reunited with Mr Collier for the commendation ceremony.

Mr Collier said: “I hadn’t seen Mr Drake since he was injured, I didn’t know what to expect when I met him. He has a long road to recovery but he is heading in the right direction.”