IT is vital that people look out for those who might be struggling, especially at this time of year.

Christmas can be a time of extremes. While some people will be looking forward to Christmas dinner with the family and presents around the tree, others will be more acutely aware than ever that their life is not going as they might wish.

In extreme circumstances it can even be a time when people are more likely to consider harming themselves or even taking their own life.

Fortunately there are lots of people out there willing to help, whether it be groups like Urban Outreach, which supports disadvantaged and vulnerable adults, or the Samaritans, who are there to offer a vital ear when people are at their most desperate.

Our story on Page 5 today features a lorry driver who did not turn the other cheek when he saw a young woman in distress standing at the side of a motorway bridge.

Adam Allen was passing along Anchor Lane which crosses over the M61 in Farnworth when he spotted the woman.

He pulled over, got out of his cab and spoke to her.

He was able to offer vital support while he called her mum.

Now he says he would like others to do the same.

That is a sentiment we would certainly echo.

We all lead busy lives, but to be able to stop and make a huge difference to someone is surely what Christmas is really all about.

He said: “If you see someone on a bridge, stop and see what the problem is.”

Mr Allen, who lives in the Highfield area of Farnworth, spoke to the woman, who he thought was aged around 25, and asked her how she was feeling.

He said: “She wasn’t in the best place obviously, and I managed to speak to her. I calmed her down and asked her about her personal life.

“She said, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’ and wanted to end her life.”

Mr Allen was able to guide her away from the edge of the motorway bridge.

He said: “When I got to the bottom where it was safe I gave her a hug and she started crying.”

Mr Allen then called the woman’s mother who came to pick her up straight away and at 9pm that night Mr Allen received a text from the girl.

He said: “I received a message which said ‘I hope you understand how special you are, it was lovely what you did tonight’.”

The bridge is owned by Highways England and has a sign on it asking if people are struggling to cope. It also features a number to ring for help and support.

A Highways England spokesman said: “We understand that suicide is never inevitable, it is always preventable”.

n Call Samaritans on 116123 from any phone or visit their website