We have followed the story of Turki Al-Shammari’s bravery closely, and it was clear to use that he deserved to be the first to be awarded one of our UVA Local Hero awards. In early February 2021, Turki decided to act as a true superhero when he selflessly jumped into the icy waters of the River Ribble to save the life of dog walker Dean Lowe.

Dean was out with his partner in their local park walking their two dogs when one of the dogs, Kash, a black and tan French Bulldog, knocked a ball into the river and went in after it. Dean jumped into the river to save the dog but unfortunately discovered the strength of the current of the river, and the whirlpools began to drag them both under. Dean’s partner Jessica saw everything happening and could see Dean struggling in the water because of the combination of the shock of the icy water, the strength of the current and Dean’s saturated clothes weighing him down; she called out for help.

Dean had managed to recall a tip that he had seen on SAS Who Dares Wins where getting onto your back in water should allow you to float and hopefully find safety. Doing this allowed Dean to float near to the side of the river and grasp at a branch sticking out from the side, allowing Turki to grab hold of Dean’s other arm. Turki was nearby in Avenham Park feeding the birds, something he did most days when he heard Jessica screaming for help.

Jumping down to the side of the river, Turki struggled for some considerable time to pull Dean out of the river and was more than ready to jump in to make the rescue but was convinced otherwise by Dean who was experiencing the challenges of being in the river! After perseverance, the Suadi Arabia undergraduate managed to pull Dean from the river despite being lighter and with the struggle of the river battling against both of them.

Turki is currently studying for his final year at The University of Central Lancashire to achieve his Master’s degree in Fire Safety Engineering, having already studied at a partner college in Oman. Turki has been very humbled by all the praise he has received in the media, and it’s already the good news that has made its way back to feature in Saudi Arabia media titles.

Our newly launched UVA Local Hero awards are predominantly for people nominated from areas in which UVA will be operating our ride-hailing app business. However, in this case, although not launching in Preston, we were so amazed at what he had done that we felt the opportunity to congratulate Turki could not be overlooked. Ayesha said:

I recently read an article in the Lancashire Post about your completely selfless act to save Dean’s life! I think what you did was so brave that it seemed impossible not to

award you the very first UVA Local Hero Award, which we have just launched. What was really compelling to me was to learn that you are, in fact, part of the wider ride-hailing community in which we operate but also your nationality as being from Saudi Arabia. UVA UK is part of the global UVA World founded by a dear Saudi friend of mine, Ibrahim Aldaajani. There were just too many synergies here, which compelled me to get in touch with you.

At UVA UK, we started the UVA Local Hero awards because we’re driven to make a difference. The local communities we operate in mean a lot to us, and when we see people having a positive impact and doing right by them, it truly touches our hearts.

Turki was both humbled and thrilled to received his UVA Local Hero award card, letter and £100 gift Amazon gift voucher as a small token of our appreciation, he said:

I am humbled by the nomination for the UVA local hero awards. Many things have crossed my mind since the incident, the praises and kind words I hear from people has really touched me. Being physically able to help someone in need is a blessing, the letter I recieved from the UVA yesterday showed me the value of recognition as a form of help. It’s been a very hard year for me being the first in the UK, majority of which in lockdown, but it has been a very humbling experience and I am glad we all still see some positivity in such tough times.

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