A Bolton widower is campaigning to have ‘In Case of Emergency’ signs put up in parks across the borough and further afield after he sadly lost his wife.

Derek Taylor, 82, has been campaigning for signs to be put up in Moses Gate Country Park as a way for people to share locations with emergency services after his wife Lynda experienced chest pains and passed away on September 20, 2021 – with Derek saying ‘emergency services could not  locate’ them.

The campaign has been ongoing since Lynda’s death and after working with Bolton Council for more than 12 months, the first sign has  poignantly been put up in Moses Gate with Derek hoping more signs  will be put up across the country.

Derek said: “When you go into country parks, and this is not just in Greater Manchester or Lancashire, it is all over, there is no access for ambulances, there is nowhere for them to see this is the location and we now want to give them something like we have put on the gates at Moses Gate Country Park - the post code, the actual area and the What 3 Words.

“This is because I lost my wife 18 months ago tragically. My phone call got put through to Liverpool and they didn’t know where Moses Gate Country Park was, and they asked me to Google it.

“I was 80 years of age then and I couldn’t do it because you are in a state of shock, you just want somebody to help you and they didn’t help at all, and she put the phone down on me.

“My wife started to have chest pains and when I rang the emergency services, which unknown to me was in Liverpool they could not locate where we were by saying Moses Gate Country Park, consequently this took several minutes to establish, delaying emergency response to my wife.

The Bolton News: A bench installed in Lynda's memoryA bench installed in Lynda's memory (Image: Derek Taylor)

“In addition to this there was a barrier that would not allow access for emergency services to gain entry which also delayed the emergency services access.

“My wife passed away. I have been campaigning ever since for emergency services to have access to all public parks in Bolton if there is a barrier in place to be allowed access and a location identification for anyone using the park.

“I have worked closely with the neighbourhood team and the local MP for this, and I have finally got a notice up at Moses Gate County Park and I would like to promote this and give awareness and continue to promote this in other public parks.

“And all these things we are doing now is to stop deaths happening in country parks."

He added: “Nigel Hartley at Bolton Council has been a gem because I wanted a bench putting in at Moses Gate as a memorial to Lynda and he sorted it out for me.

“I have every confidence in Nigel because he is working with me to improve the parks.

"I would like to mention my social worker Paula Sanderson for her continued support throughout none of this would have been possible without her.

“The sign in Moses Gate is the only one in Bolton so far and we are now trying with the council to put other signs up in Bolton - and then countrywide.

The Bolton News: The first sign being installed at Moses Gate Country ParkThe first sign being installed at Moses Gate Country Park (Image: Derek Taylor)

“I’m doing this because I lost my Lynda, and she should be here now.”

Lynda and Derek had been together 60 years before her death.

Derek said: “On that day we had gone for a walk around and we normally go to where there is a mini waterfall, and I said lets walk back towards the car and I said my knee is killing me and Lynda said well lets go back to the car and I said well you want to walk because it is a lovely day and I wish I had gone back to the car.

“We walked round and we sat at a bench and we held hands and very rarely do swans go near this bench but on that day two swans came round and they formed a heart and I said ‘wow look at that love’ and she went ‘that’s fantastic’ and she gave me a kiss and then we walked back up towards the car and then she said I have got a pain in my chest, so I told her to sit on a bench and that’s when I made the phone call to the ambulance and after that it was just devastation.

“It was our favourite place; we would always go and sit there.”

After discussing what happened with Mark Logan MP around 12 months ago, the MP for Bolton addressed the issue of emergency services not being able to access country parks in Parliament, hoping to get legislation all over the country for signs to be put up to save lives.

And Derek said he will do all he can to keep pushing for signs to be put up across the country to help save lives.

He said: “It needs to be highlighted because we have all these parks around us where they have got a car park but no access for emergency services.”

An NWAS spokesperson said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Taylor for the sad passing of his wife. Following the incident, we conducted a full investigation and met him to discuss the findings.

"We have apologised for his experience and that the response time was longer than we would expect, however, it is unknown whether it had a contributory impact on Mrs Taylor’s death.

“Our control rooms do have access to ‘What Three Words’ and we would strongly encourage the public to download the app as it does help us to find people easier in remote areas.

“We would like to offer our best wishes for Mr Taylor’s campaign.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environmental Services, Cllr Richard Silvester, said: “This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with Mr Taylor and his family.

“Following Mr Taylor’s campaign, we were pleased to install signage at Moses Gate Country Park and hope it will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“We would like to thank him for raising awareness of this issue, and we will explore the possibility of installing similar signs in our other green spaces where appropriate.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @chloewjourno.