A SHARP-EYED teenager who helped save the life of an elderly man who had gone missing from his home in Darlington has received a police commendation.

Laura Dean was presented with a chief constable’s commendation, from Durham Police chief Mike Barton, in recognition of hers and her family’s efforts, which led to a missing man being found.

The 83-year-old man had been reported missing by his carer on the morning of Sunday, September 30, after last being seen at his home in Darlington the previous day.

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He was known to become easily confused and have no provisions for staying out overnight.

Thirteen-year-old Laura was in the back seat of her parents’ car, travelling along the Staindrop Road, when she thought she spotted something in a field through a gap in a hedge.

Her father, John, pulled over to check and found an elderly man lying on his back in a field, very cold and confused. The family gave first aid on the scene then rang for an ambulance and the police.

Laura, a student at Hummersknott Academy, said: “I saw a gap in the hedge and a man lying in a field. It took a few seconds for it to sink in, then I told my parents and persuaded them to turn back.

“I’m very relieved we found him when we did.”

Mr Barton said: “Without a shadow of doubt, Laura’s acute observation skills helped her family save this man’s life and I was delighted to present this commendation.”