AN HEROIC police officer says he was “overwhelmed” to win a national bravery award after saving a child from drowning.
PC Marc Woods, a Dyfed-Powys police officer based at Llandrindod Wells, was named as the Region 7 (Wales) winner at the 22nd National Police Bravery Awards in London last week.
The award recognised his actions in saving a young boy from the River Wye, close to the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex, near Llangurig, almost exactly a year ago on July 26, 2016.
PC Woods and a colleague raced to the scene, after a member of the public reported hearing screams for help, to find the river was swollen with a strong current.
A terrified 10-year-old boy was clinging to a rock in the middle, with his father further downstream, having both been washed away in the river.
The child was deemed at more risk and so a rescue line was thrown to him. PC Woods swam out to the boy – who was frozen with fear – and secured the rescue line before taking him across to the far bank.
As this happened, additional police and Fire and Rescue Service officers arrived to rescue the boy’s father.
It was established that the pair had been crossing the river carrying rucksacks to go camping when the child fell into the fast flowing river. His father entered the water to help but was also taken by the current.
After receiving his award from Gavin Thomas, president of the Police Superintendents Association of England and Wales, PC Woods said: “I’m a bit overwhelmed to be a winner. I wasn’t expecting this at all and feel very humbled.
“This evening is definitely a big deal for the police force. As officers we deal with a lot of unpleasant situations and to be celebrated for the job we do feels very special.”
The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery.
Chair of the Dyfed Powys Police Federation, Mark Bleasdale, said: “Without doubt, the swift actions of PC Woods saved the life of the child and this has been recognised by those involved and those present.
“He took a great risk in swimming across the river and showed tremendous courage in his actions, without fear for his own safety.”
Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Every nominee at this year’s awards has shown outstanding courage and thoroughly deserves to be recognised.
“Your continued bravery helps ensure that millions of people in our country are kept safe, which is perhaps more important than ever given recent events across the world. This is why we proudly continue to support this event.”