Award for hero who saved suicidal woman from river

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A hero who leapt into a river to save the life of a suicidal woman has been honoured at the recent East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Awards.

Rupert Cawte was presented with the Chief Fire Officer Commendation certificate for his brave actions in Rye.

A Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation is a certificate presented by the Chief Fire Officer for a significant contribution to the survival and/or rescue of people in extreme danger or at risk of loss of life.

Those gathered heard how Mr Cawte entered the river by New Road in Rye after seeing a woman slide in, attempting to take her own life.

He swam with the woman and managed to keep her from going under the water, despite the fact she was extremely agitated and combative.

Eventually the rescuer managed to get her to the side of the river where the emergency services were able to perform a rescue.

Another member of the public, Karen Inwood, also received a Chief Fire Officer Certificate of Congratulations for helping Mr Cawte with the rescue.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service held its annual awards ceremony on Friday October 5.

Other awards on the day included long service awards and several awards for those who took part in a multi-agency rescue when a young man became separated from his friends on a night out and fell unnoticed into the River Ouse. The man was in the water for 90 minutes and was suffering from extreme hypothermia, but miraculously survived.

The Chief Fire Officer of ESFRS, Dawn Whittaker, said: “The awards ceremony is a hugely rewarding opportunity to recognise the achievements of our staff and others within our local community.

“It demonstrates just how integral the work of the emergency services is and how closely we work together to keep our communities safe.”

* Pictured are Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker and the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field with some of the winners