Gorleston police officers honoured for sea rescue

Two police officers who plunged into the icy sea at Gorleston to save a suicidal man have been awarded top national bravery honours.

Sgt Ashley Waterhouse and PC Adam Hovells are each to receive Royal Humane Society testimonials on parchment for their rescue last December on a day when the air temperature was minus 8C.

The officers, both based in Gorleston, also won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, who said: 'Without any shadow of a doubt, these two officers put their lives on the line to save this man.

'But for their swift action this man would almost certainly have drowned or died from hypothermia. They richly deserve the awards they are to receive.'

The pair were called into action on December 20 when they spotted a man, reported missing four days earlier and believed to be in a suicidal state by the local mental health team, on the clifftop in Gorleston.

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Sgt Waterhouse, 43, said: 'We followed him along the clifftop but he became startled when another police unit drew into the car park.

'He ran down the cliff, over the railing and straight into the sea.

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'The beach was solid ice and covered in snow but we ran into the sea after him in full uniform going out as far as 15m.

'He disappeared under the waves; I got knocked under the water myself by the waves but I managed to grab him and Adam grabbed hold of me. We then dragged him back on to the beach.'

PC Hovells said: 'The water was so cold it took your breath away. I do the Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft every year but it seemed much colder than that.'

The pair will receive their awards at Dunston Hall in North Norfolk on September 19.

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