Rescuers of buried girl receive honour

Three lifeboat men who rescued a teenage girl who was buried alive on Caister beach have received prestigious awards for their life-saving efforts.

Paul Williams, Andrew Hewitt and Thomas Williams were recognised with Royal Humane Society certificates for their 'remarkable efforts' which helped save the teenager's life.

And paramedic Mark Little - who was first on scene - was honoured by the lifeboat service for his part in the rescue.

Paige Anderson, 15, was on holiday with her family last August when she became trapped on Caister beach when a tunnel she was digging collapsed on top of her.

Paige and her sister Jade, both from Kent, dug two holes and were attempting to create a tunnel between them.

When it collapsed she was buried beneath six-feet of sand, and when the four men dug her out she was blue.

She was taken to the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) by an RAF Wattisham helicopter that had been training at Lowestoft.

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The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, presented the awards at Great Yarmouth Town Hall this afternoon.

He said: 'Reading the detail of this accident demonstrates to me just how quickly tragedies can strike.

'How fortunate indeed it was that help was so close at hand, otherwise the outcome for Paige and her family could have been very different.

'We're all very grateful to Caister Lifeboat and the other agencies involved in saving this girl.'

Paul Williams, coxswain of Caister lifeboat whose son Thomas, 27, was involved in the rescue, said he and his son were very proud to be recognised by the award.

He added: 'It's a really good feeling and a great honour.

'It's something we will never, ever forget and it's nice to have this as a reminder.'

Thomas said the awards showed the teamwork of all involved with Caister Lifeboat, and Andrew Hewitt said he is still 'stunned' that they have received the awards.

The Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service presented a certificate to recognise the 'supreme efforts' of NHS paramedic Mark Little who also attended the incident.

Mr Little said the rescue showed how lives can be saved when agencies work together.

Presentations were also be made to junior crew members.

The awards were made on the recommendation of the Rector of Caister and HM Coastguard.

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