A 10-year-old Leigh girl whose quick thinking helped to save her mum's life has been crowned a "Local Hero" by the East Lancashire Railway (ELR). 

Four individuals have been celebrated for their efforts at the Bury Bolton Street station and taken on a special visit to the ELR's Santa Specials for an festive day out yesterday, Wednesday, December 21. 

ELR staff and volunteers chose the heroes after public nominations.

One of the "Local Heroes", schoolgirl Amelia Potts, won the treat after saving her mum's life.  

The 10-year-old from Leigh, who was aged nine at the time of the worrying incident, stayed calm and called an ambulance for her mum, Rebecca, 28, after she suddenly collapsed in their home.  

Leigh Journal: Amelia Potts and mum Rebecca Amelia Potts and mum Rebecca (Image: Public)

Rebecca, who is a primary school learning support assistant, went on to spend two weeks in hospital with sepsis but has since made a full recovery. 

She said: “It was early in the morning and I was just going into Amelia’s room to wake her up. 

“I remember feeling light-headed and then I collapsed. I banged my head on the doorframe and knocked myself out cold. 

“Fortunately Amelia didn’t panic. She calmly rang 999 and explained to them what had happened. 

“I’m so pleased for Amelia that she is getting the recognition she deserves. There’s no doubt that I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for her actions. 

“It was an emotional moment for Amelia when discovered that she had been made a Local Hero. She’s a really special girl and deserves it.” 

Amelia was nominated for the award by her grandma Dawn Garcia.

Another well-deserving winner was Mark Hayes, 34, from St Helens.  

Leigh Journal: East Lancashire RailwayEast Lancashire Railway (Image: ELR)

As a mental health nurse at a high-security hospital, Mark often works fifteen-hour shifts - which severely curtails the time he can spend with his family. 

He said: “I’m really stunned. I’m just doing my job, but working long hours means as a family we miss out on certain traditions. 

“Everyone that works in the NHS makes sacrifices - especially at this time of the year - but we will all go the extra mile to support colleagues and our service users.” 

Dinner lady, Donna Taylor-Ford, 38, has also been honoured after she was inspired to open her house to others on Christmas Day. 

Donna and her husband Gary, who have three daughters, Kieralea, 19, Robyn, 15 and 11-year-old Tilly, have been providing a warm welcome for anyone who wants it for the past ten years. 

Donna, from Rusholme, said: “I just can’t bear the thought of anyone being by themselves on Christmas Day. 

Leigh Journal: East Lancashire Railway Santa Specials East Lancashire Railway Santa Specials (Image: ELR)

“It first started when we took my dad down the pub one Christmas Day and we were introduced to two of his pals who didn’t have any family and were just going home to an empty house. 

“It’s snowballed from there - some years on and we have ten extra guests for lunch.” 

The visit to the ELR attraction is extra special as Donna admits she struggles to find attractions that are suitable for her daughter Tilly who has autism. 

She addws: “We didn’t tell Tilly so it can be a surprise for her. We’re all so delighted to be visiting the ELR.” 

Gillian Gilder, from Rochdale, has also been crowned a "Local Hero" for her tireless lifetime of caring for her 45-year-old son who suffered a severe brain injury in a car accident when he was aged 11.  

Chairman at ELR Mike Kelly said: “Discovering such moving and inspirational stories and achievements of our Local Heroes has been incredibly rewarding and humbling. 

“Christmas is a time of giving and our unsung heroes exemplify the very best of unselfish  community spirit in the North West and we’re delighted to celebrate and spoil them. 

“For generations, the ELR has been at the very heart of our local communities in Bury and we’re overwhelmed and overjoyed to be able to share part of their Christmas with our Local Heroes.”