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Friday, 01 August 2014

Cumbrian flood hero to get bravery award

An amateur photographer who rescued a woman trapped in rising flood waters will be commended for his heroism by Cumbrian fire chiefs next week.

Colin Smithson photo
Colin Smithson

Colin Smithson, from Kirkbride near Wigton, will receive the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation in a presentation at fire headquarters in Penrith next Thursday (April 10).

In January the 64-year-old was taking photographs of flooding from a balcony at his home when he spotted the roof of a car submerged in water on a road near his home.

After wading through the freezing water, which was waist-high, he found frightened Port Carlisle pensioner Elizabeth Young trapped inside.

Before he got to the vehicle she was convinced she was about to die and had been quietly praying and contemplating the end of her life.

However Mr Smithson, a keen open-water swimmer, arrived just in the nick of time to save her by forcing open the door and leading her to safety.

His actions have been praised by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer Ian Cartwright who said: “The rescue carried out by Mr Smithson was a heroic and selfless act. Without his bravery and quick-thinking it would most likely have ended in tragedy.

“It’ll be a real privilege to present him with the commendation – it’s fully deserved and a great example of the lengths some people will go to when confronted with a potential life or death situation.”

Councillor Barry Doughty, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for the fire and rescue service, will be presenting the award at 1pm next Thursday.

He said: “While the emergency services regularly go into dangerous situations to help others, they’ve been trained to do it and have the equipment and machinery for carrying out rescues.

“For Mr Smithson to do what he did on his own without any gear or back-up is marvellous and an inspiration to us all.”

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