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West Bridgford police officer who saved woman and 12-year-old girl from drowning awarded

An heroic response officer who saved a 12-year-old girl and a woman from drowning during separate rescues has been nominated for a national honour.

Police Constable Nick Lewis used all his past experience swimming for the Nottinghamshire County Swim Squad to save the girl’s life after she had entered the River Trent.

Without hesitation, PC Lewis took off his stab vest and equipment belt and jumped in as the girl struggled to stay afloat.

She was struggling to keep her head above the water due to the thick and woollen clothing that she was wearing, and she repeatedly dipped under the surface of the water on a number of occasions.

PC Lewis swam out to her and had to swim hard to ensure they both returned to the side of the river.

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He managed to grab hold of her and, using his previous swimming experience, got her back to the bank to safety.

He was supported by his colleague PS Declan Bourne who was able to direct him to the submerged girl from the riverbank.

She had earlier been spotted close to the County Hall, near to the Victoria Embankment, before going into the river on the night of 6 June 2021.

The West Bridgford officer, who has swam competitively in open water races, said: “I spotted her going down the steps at the Embankment and I was really shocked to see her leap into the water. I wasn’t quite expecting that, but I only had seconds to think and go in after her.

“The current had already taken her about 20 metres away from the sides and she was quickly heading downstream towards Trent Bridge.

“She was wearing really heavy clothing, like a woollen poncho, so she was incredibly heavy and it took a lot more effort than I anticipated to keep her head above water.

“As I was swimming out to her I could see her head repeatedly go under the water, but thankfully I was able to get to her in the nick of time.

“I’ve swam most of my life and I was actually part of the county’s swimming squad when I was younger. I think that massively helped as I’m quite a strong swimmer and had a lot of time in the water over the years.

“I’m very humbled to be nominated for a national award and feel proud to be recognised for what I did, but it’s all part of the job. I know all my colleagues would have done the same. I’m just grateful we were able to save her.”

The girl thankfully wasn’t injured following the incident and was reunited with her mother at hospital that evening.

PC Lewis also used his open water swimming experience to prevent a woman from going under the water after she entered the River Trent on the afternoon of 26 August 2021.

His strength in the water and calming words towards to the woman prevented the situation from becoming worse as he battled to save her life.

PC Lewis’ heroic actions have been further recognised after he was nominated in the 2022 Police Federation of England and Wales Annual Police Bravery Awards, sponsored by Police Mutual.

This year’s awards will be held in July, with 77 nominees from 39 forces in England and Wales set to be honoured at the ceremony for their bravery in the line of duty.

Simon Riley, chairman of the Nottinghamshire Police Federation, said: “PC Lewis acted without any second thought or hesitation, twice in the space of two months, in order to save the lives of two people.

“He showed huge personal bravery in entering the water, without any thought for his own safety on both of these occasions, in order to effect the rescue of two people in difficulty, in what is an extremely dangerous stretch of the River Trent.

“Without his selfless actions and bravery, both would have undoubtedly drowned.”

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