Chief Constable's Heroes; Brave Rescuers and Top Officers Receive Awards

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Loraine

BRAVE members of the public who risked their lives to save others last night had their achievements recognised at an awards ceremony together with outstanding police officers.

The Chief Constable's Presentation Evening at Newcastle's Assembly Rooms saw awards given to the Community Police Officer of the Year and the Community Support Officer of the Year.

There were also four people awarded with Chief Constable's commendations - three members of the public and a police constable.

One of those commended was Anne Lewis, a 51-year-old environmental agency worker from Edge well Grange in Prudhoe, who saved a drowning teenager from the River Tyne in May this year.

She said: "It's fantastic to be here. I'm very flattered and excited to be here and have enjoyed meeting the other two members of the public who are here for awards as well. We've been comparing stories, which has been interesting.

"I have almost a little video that I can run in my head of how it was. It's like looking down a tunnel - you are so focused."

Mrs Lewis explained that she had known the 18-year-old man she saved from his childhood, when he lived on the same street as her.

"He used to help me in the garden," she said. "I heard a horrible coughing noise and that's when I realised he was in real trouble. It happened that I was right by the life buoy and I jumped in."

Also in May this year, father-of-two Richard Testo, of Kingsway, Sunniside, near Whickham, rescued an 11-year-old boy in the sea off Tynemouth.

He said: "It's nice to be appreciated. The memory is still fresh in my mind. It's not something you forget in a hurry because my little ones were there on the beach at the time. …

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