River rescue pair rewarded for saving a man’s life

A man who nearly died when he fell into the river after a night out in Norwich has been reunited with the two security guards who helped save his life.

The reunion came as Nathan Goffin and Ellen Pennings, from Norwich-based Broadland Guarding Services, received commendations from the company for their quick-thinking actions.

The pair helped save Stuart Purvis, from Wymondham, who fell into the River Wensum near Bishop's Bridge, in July. Mr Goffin, 25, and Miss Pennings, 30, heard cries for help from the river while they were guarding a nearby premises and raced to Mr Purvis's aid.

Mr Purvis, 31, said: 'It's brilliant that they've been recognised. It's not often you get people who would risk their own lives to help someone else.'

Mr Goffin, of Dereham, said: 'I wasn't going to leave him to die – you would have that on your conscience for the rest of your life.'

Miss Pennings added: 'You'd like to think that if you were in the same situation, someone would come to your aid.'

It was a wet and windy night when Mr Purvis, who had been on a night out in the city with workmates, fell into the river.

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After hearing his cries, Miss Pennings called the emergency services, while Mr Goffin called out to Mr Purvis, urging him to stay calm and telling him he was on his way. Mr Goffin ran across the bridge to get nearer to Mr Purvis and grabbed a life buoy, but as the bank was a 30ft vertical drop obscured by trees, he could not see him.

Miss Pennings helped to guide Mr Goffin from the other side of the bridge. He was then able to pull Mr Purvis to the edge and up the steep bank to safety using the lifebuoy's rope.

They then took Mr Purvis to their site office to make him coffee and keep him warm while he was assessed by paramedics, who discovered that he was hypothermic and may have died had he been in the water any longer.

As well as the awards they received last night, the duo could also be in line for a Chief Constable's Commendation from Norfolk police and a national Life Saving Society Award.