QEQM porter Nick flies into action after seagull swipes patient’s phone

Porter Nick Jack retrieved the phone

By Liz Crudgington

A plucky porter used his experience as a firefighter to help reunite a patient with their phone after it was swiped by a cheeky seagull.

Nick Jack flew into action after the brazen bird stole the device while the patient was enjoying some fresh air outside the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

It took the phone up on to the roof and dropped it there, standing guard while Nick and his colleagues worked out how best to retrieve it.

Nick, a grandad of two from Westgate, said: “We were alerted to the problem after a nurse asked for our help, and my colleague Colin and I went to investigate.

“At first we thought we could climb up to get it but there wasn’t a safe route to the roof so instead I went to get a ladder.

“Because of my experience with the fire service I’ve got extensive ladder training so I was confident I would be able to get to the roof.

“I really wanted to retrieve the phone because I could see the patient was very distressed. When someone is admitted to hospital it can be a very worrying time and their phone is like a comfort blanket and their link to their loved ones so I wanted to try and get it back.”

Nick soon came face-to-beak with the thief, but realised the task would not be as easy as he had hoped.

The 59 year old said: “The seagull was on the roof as if it was guarding the phone, and it was squawking very loudly at me.

“It was clear it wasn’t going to back down without a lot of protest but nor was I!

“Eventually it relented and I was able to get the phone and reunite it with its owner, who was very grateful.”

In his previous role, Nick has rescued cats, dogs, and plenty of people, but has never been called to retrieve a phone before. His usual tasks at the hospital involve transporting patients and items to different wards and departments.

He said: “It’s certainly not what I expected to be doing when I arrived at work that morning but I was very happy to help and glad that the owner and phone were reunited.”


  1. Phew a former fireman with ladder experience, the rest of us would just stand around confused how to use a ladder !! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • You do know there’s such a thing as H&S, and i doubt you would be allowed to leg it up a ladder on hospital grounds, and employers on building sites dont just let people go up ladders without a ticket ?

  2. Blimey! Regardless of how easy this was for an ex-firefighter, regardless of some H&S concerns, this fellow kindly retrieved a patient’s phone when they may well have needed it most and already 2 people are airing nothing but disapproval!

  3. A rare opportunity to say that the offending bird was going up before the beak tomorrow morning has been missed!

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