Norfolk heroes honoured for risking their lives to rescue swimmers

Princess Alexandra with Neil Ramsey, David Castleman and his father John, after the presentation: Pi

Princess Alexandra with Neil Ramsey, David Castleman and his father John, after the presentation: Picture: UK Law - Credit: Archant

Heroes who risked their lives to rescue drowning swimmers off a north Norfolk beach have been honoured by Royalty.

Neil Ramsey, David Castleman and his father John: Picture: UK Law

Neil Ramsey, David Castleman and his father John: Picture: UK Law - Credit: Archant

Four men were swept out to sea by a rip tide at Sea Palling beach on July 23 last year.

Two of them managed to get back to the beach but David Castleman, 15, and his parents, who were walking on the beach, spotted the two others about 200 metres out at sea.

He immediately went into the water and swam out to the men. One appeared to be dead so he swam to the other, who was unconscious, and managed to drag him back to the shore through the rip tide.

In the meantime, Neil Ramsey and Lee Sparks, who were on the beach with their families, borrowed body boards and paddled out to recover the body of the dead man.

Neil Ramsey with his award: Picture: UK Law

Neil Ramsey with his award: Picture: UK Law - Credit: Archant


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Mr Ramsey, 44, of Thorpe Road, Norwich, was presented with a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum by the President, Princess Alexandra, who had personally approved and signed it.

Mr Sparks, 45, of Top Common, Wymondham, received a Testimonial on Vellum, while Stephen Dawson, of Linacre Avenue, Sprowston, who fought to revive the man who survived, and a Norfolk doctor, who cannot be named, also received awards.

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Mr Dawson received a resuscitation certificate and the doctor received a certificate of commendation.

David Castleman, from Oakleigh Rise, Epping, Essex, was presented with a rarely awarded Royal Humane Society bronze medal.

His father, John Castleman, who received a certificate of commendation, also attended the ceremony at the Royal Humane Society's Annual Court at the City of London's Haberdasher's Hall.

The society's secretary Dick Wilkinson said: 'Each one of the rescuers here played a vital role in the fight to save these two men but David was the absolute hero of the day, the one who took his life in his hands to get the man who survived back to the safety of the beach. He could easily have been swept away himself.

'Neil and Lee also took a great risk going out in unpredictable waters on body boards to recover the body of the man who was drowned. They too could have been swept away.'

The society is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

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