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Bravery awards for group who tried to save man after Shropshire canal fall

By Dominic Robertson | Ellesmere | News | Published:

Five police and a Canadian holidaymaker have been awarded top national honours after battling to save a 71-year-old who fell into the canal.

Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

Sadly the man died in hospital six days after the incident but the Oswestry police had managed to resuscitate him when they arrived at the scene in Ellesmere.

He had been dragged from the water and on to the canal towpath by the Canadian and two unknown men after the man’s wife had raised the alarm.

PCs Benjamin Francis, Kate Le’Clere, Kimberley Morris and PCSOs Kerry Hogg and Tracey Walker, have all been awarded Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates for their fight using cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to bring the man back from the brink of death after he stopped breathing.

Canadian Doug Yelland, who was first to arrive at the scene and led the struggle to pull the man from the water, has been awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Society.

The incident happened on the evening of September 14 as the man was returning from an evening stroll, during which he had bought fish and chips and a bottle of wine for him and his wife to enjoy on their canal boat called Daydream.

They used to spend several months each year touring the country’s waterways.

Somehow he fell into the water near their boat which was moored at Wharf Road, Ellesmere, and his wife heard him call for help.

He had broken his neck in the fall and when she rushed to help she found him lying face down in the water. She raised the alarm and then fought to hold her husband’s head above water with a boat hook.

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Tragic

Mr Yelland arrived but could not lift the injured man out of the water on his own. Then the two unnamed men arrived and between them they pulled him from the water and on to the towpath.

Mr Yelland loosened his clothing and put him in the recovery position.

PCSOs Hogg and Walker were the first police to arrive at which point the man had stopped breathing and PCSO Hogg began administering CPR.

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The other officers then arrived and while PCSO Hogg ran to a nearby store to fetch a defibrillator they took it in turns to administer CPR for around 30 minutes before paramedics reached the scene.

Ultimately after receiving shocks from the defibrillator the man began breathing again but died in a hospice six days later.

In addition to the awards they are to receive the award winners have also won the praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

“This was a horrific incident,” he said. “No-one knows what caused the man to fall in the canal. He had been out for a stroll and to pick up the fish and chips and wine for supper and then this happened. It was an appallingly tragic end for this couple’s canal cruise.

“Everybody involved did a magnificent job, firstly in pulling the man from the water and then the police in managing to resuscitate him. Sadly he died six days later but at least there was time for his family to gather round him and say their last farewells.

“All the awards winners did their very best to save him though and they richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

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