Man scoops two awards for bravery

Ash Fairs with SECamb chief executive Paul Sutton
Ash Fairs with SECamb chief executive Paul Sutton

A BRAVE ambulance technician in Hastings has scooped two awards after he rescued a young man from drowning in the sea at St Leonards last year.

Ash Fairs was presented with the Chief Executive’s Commendation - Above & Beyond the Call of Duty at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECamb) awards ceremony in March and his bravery has also been recognised with an award from the Royal Humane Society.

The incident occurred on January 27, 2013, when a non-swimmer got stranded on the rocks off the beach at St Leonards.

Responding with the Coastguard, Ash, 34, took the decision to risk the rough seas and rescue the 22-year-old man after the tide started to rise and the lifeboat was unable to get close because of the rocks.

Ash, who has lived in Hastings for seven years, said: “It was just a case of going in the sea and trying to get him out or do nothing and risk him drowning. It was a no-brainer really.

“I grew up in Cornwall and I have life-guarding experience but nothing prepared me for those conditions. They were horrendous. My adrenaline was going at first and it wasn’t until I was pulling him out and the waves were going over our head that I thought, ‘Oh my God what have I got myself into!’ I didn’t do it to get an award but it was great to be recognised. It was quite a proud moment.”

Clinical operations manager, Nigel Hammond said: “Ash was extremely brave and while he carried out a risk assessment, he took a considerable risk entering the water to save this young man.”